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Public Health Report

Mental health among adults - summary

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Mental health

Norway has, together with the other Nordic countries, the highest quality of life and happiness in the world. This applies to both adults and adolescents. However, coping ability varies more among nations and Norway is close to the European average.

Many people will experience poor mental health during their lifetime. About 15 per cent will have at least one episode of major depression, and about 10 per cent will have a period of harmful substance abuse or addiction during their lifetime.

In line with a growing number of older people in the community there is likely to be an increased need for health care for mental disorders, including dementia. Mental disorders in the elderly may have different characteristics than in younger people.

People with mental disorders in childhood or adolescence are at increased risk of experiencing mental problems later in life, but for many the psychological distress is temporary.

Of those with one mental disorder, half will have at least one other mental disorder. Many people who have mental disorders are not in contact with the health services.

People with mental disorders have higher rates of somatic diseases and live shorter than the general population. The use of medicines, an unhealthy lifestyle and suicide are important explanations. Every year about 500 people take their own lives