Public Mental Health

Mental health is vital to public health. Mental health and wellbeing is profoundly important to quality of life and the capacity to cope with life’s ups and downs. Mental and physical health are inextricably linked. In Ireland; 87% of people with emotional, psychological, or mental health (EPMH) problems also have at least one other type of disability.

 Public mental health is the art and science of improving mental health and wellbeing and preventing mental illness through the organised efforts and informed choices of society, organisations, public and private, communities and individuals. In Ireland:

  • One in every four people will experience a mental health problem during his or her lifetime
  • Estimates suggest that the overall economic cost of mental health problems is €3 billion per annum; only cardiovascular disease is likely to contribute more to the overall burden of illness
  • Young people have higher rates of mental disorders than similarly aged young people in other countries
  • Depression is a very common condition, which affects more than 450,000 people (one in ten) at any one time.
  • The death rate for suicide amongst young people has been higher than other countries. This rate has been falling in recent years
  • One in 20 persons aged over 50 years reported a doctor’s diagnosis of depression, with a similar number reporting a diagnosis of anxiety

See Public Mental Health Briefing by the Public Mental Health Special Interest Group (2015).

 For more information, please contact Dr. Regina Kiernan at