One in three young Berliners has a mental health illness, study shows

The Local Germany
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One in three young Berliners has a mental health illness, study shows
Photo: DPA

A growing number of young people across Germany are undergoing treatment for mental illness, health insurance company Barmer said on Thursday, adding that Berlin leads the way as the state with the highest figures.


Almost one in three people in the nation’s capital between the ages of 18 and 25 have been diagnosed with a mental health illness, according to the insurer.

While depression was diagnosed most often among young Berliners (96,300 people were treated for it in 2016), other common illnesses include somatoform, adaptation and anxiety disorders.  

Those affected by depression are twice as likely to suffer from high blood pressure and six times as likely to have sleeping disorders, according to Barmer. Self-mutilation is also more frequently diagnosed along with depression.

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Barmer found in its study that Berlin is home to the highest number of young people affected by a mental health illness, followed by the states of Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Hamburg.

Conversely the figures were lower in the west and south of the country. Researchers believe this might have to do with the fact that Germany’s north and east regions are structurally and economically weaker.

Varying social structures, a faster pace of life, lack of exercise and worrying over jobs and paying rent all lend themselves to the development of psychological issues, the researchers state.

The results of the study were "frightening, but not hopeless," Barmer boss Gabriela Leyh said.

"We have some catching up to do, especially in the areas of prevention and destigmatization. Only when we live and work in a climate in which nobody feels ashamed of mental illness will we be successful in combating causes and preventing them," Leyh added.

According to Barmer, not every person who’s affected by a health illness gets treatment, thus there is likely a high number of unreported cases.

The health insurance company’s study is based on patient data from 2016. Around 474,000 people are insured by Barmer in Berlin.

SEE ALSO: Half a million students in Germany suffer from a mental health illness



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