Mental health is the capacity to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges. Mental health disorders constitute a public health issue because of their frequency, the distress and disability they cause, and the impact on the physical and social health of individuals and those around them.
The Health Interview Surveys reveal that anxiety, depression, and eating disorders represent the most common mental health disorders. In 2018, around one in ten people had an anxiety (comparable to 2013) or a depressive disorder (slight decrease compared to 2013).
Suicide is an important problem for public health in Belgium. Suicidal thoughts and attempts are more common in women and middle-aged people. Suicide is one of the main causes of death among young people in Belgium. It is 2.5 times higher in men than in women. The mortality rate due to suicide is particularly high in Belgium compared to other EU-15 countries.
While the consumption of sedatives (sleeping pills or tranquilizers) is decreasing since 2008, the consumption of antidepressants continues to increase.
Social inequalities are present, with more people of the lower educational level suffering from mental health disorders. Mental health indicators indicate a better situation in the Flemish region.