Depression statistics

To raise awareness of those who suffer from depression across the UK and the world, we've compiled some of the most useful published facts and figures.

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Depression is a mental health disorder that's characterised by feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and many other psychological and physical symptoms. Depression can affect people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

Part of understanding the realities of depression is to get to terms with some of the research and statistics on the topic, separate from general mental health statistics. To help you develop awareness around depression, we’ve listed some depression facts and figures from leading organisations in mental health and public health.

Depression statistics you should know


  • Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression [1]
  • Globally, it's estimated that 5% of adults suffer from depression [1]
  • 19% of adults reported that they had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, including postnatal depression. This was the most frequently reported diagnosis [2]
  • The average 12-month prevalence estimate was 5.5% for adults in high-income countries. [3]
  • The average lifetime prevalence estimate was 14.6% for adults in high-income countries. [3]



  • Including postnatal depression, 24% of women report having had depression at some stage in their life, compared with 13% of men [2]


  • Depression occurs in 2.1% of young people aged 5 to 19 [5]
  • In 2017, 0.3% of 5 to 10 year old children met clinical criteria for depression, as did 2.7% of 11 to 16 year olds and 4.8% of 17 to 19 year olds [5]
  • Up to 90% of children and young people recover from depression within the first year [6]
  • 7% of adults older than 60 years suffer from depression [1]

In the workplace

  • Depression is responsible for 109 million lost working days every year in England, at a cost of £9 billion to the economy [7]
  • For every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover [10]

Depression and other health conditions

  • It's estimated that depression is 2 to 3 times more common in people with a chronic physical health problem [3]
  • Nearly one-third of patients with major depressive disorder also have substance use disorders [8]
  • 13% of people with lifetime major depressive disorder, or any anxiety disorder, also met the criteria for a lifetime eating disorder. 39% reported engaging in at least one lifetime clinically significant disordered eating behavior [9]

The COVID-19 pandemic

  • Around 1 in 5 (21%) adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021 (27 January to 7 March); this is an increase since November 2020 (19%) and more than double that observed before the COVID-19 pandemic (10%) [4]
  • Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression in that same period, with over 4 in 10 (43%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with 26% of men of the same age [4]
  • In early 2021, disabled (39%) and clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults (31%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (13%) and non-CEV adults (20%) [4]

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