Europeans experience their life in a positive light - but feel tired
Regarding the results of the Eurobarometer survey on health and mental well-being, most Europeans feel healthy and happy. However, there seems to be a gap between the EU member states.
The turn of a year is always the time for resumes. Concerning the mental well-being of the European citizens, the resume - according to the results of a survey from the European Commission - is divided: On the one hand, more than 60% have been happy and felt calm in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. On the other hand, after all 13% have sought psychological help during the course of 12 month. Furthermore, the question of feeling happy seems to be a question of where you live.
The Eurobarometer survey, published by the European Commission in December 2006 represents the state of health and mental well-being of EU citizens aged 15 and older, the fieldwork was conducted between December 2005 and January 2006.
In general, the state of health of Europeans appears to be good: More than 70% indicated that their health does not limit them from doing moderate physical activities such as climbing stairs. Interesting is the link between mental well-being and physical health that becomes visible here: Those who have either sought psychological help or have been treated for psychological or emotional health problems, state notably more frequently that their health limits them “a lot” from doing moderate physical activities.
Asked about their mental well-being over the last 4 weeks, more than 60% felt happy, calm, peaceful and full of life at least most of the time. Analysing the negative feelings, nearly 50% “sometimes” and 18% “most of the time” or “all the time” felt tired during the past month. Only a minority of Europeans felt “so down in the dumps that nothing could cheer them up”.
Regarding the question “How often do you feel downhearted and depressed?” there is a huge gap between Europe: While more than 80% of the Danes, Germans and Swedes answered they never or rarely felt like this, only 49% of Turks and 54 % of Latvians gave an positive answer.
Particular privileged groups seems to be men, the young, well educated, students and managers for they stated more often to have positive feelings “all the time”, are “never” affected on their level of accomplishment by their physical health and pain “not at all” interfered with their activities.
The vast majority of EU citizens assert that emotional problems, such as feeling depressed or anxious, do not cause difficulties in their working life. Nevertheless, 6% stated that they have missed work days during the past month. Out of the 13% of those who have sought help from a professional because of emotional health problems during the last 12 month, 70% visited a general practitioner, but only 14% went to a psychologist.
Only a minority of Europeans have been treated for psychological or emotional health problems, whereas taking drugs was the most common treatment (7%), followed by 3% that received a psychotherapy.
In case of feeling bad, the family (53%), health professionals (50%) and friends (22%) are the most important sources for mental support. The younger the respondents were, the more frequently they asked friends for help and those who received already a psychological treatment during the last year tended to go directly to a health professional.
Arguable results arose from the question what the Europeans think of people who suffers from psychological or emotional problems: Nearly half of the respondents tend to agree that people with those problems are unpredictable, 18% tend to agree that they will never recover and 14% think that people with emotional disorders have to blame themselves for it. At least, over a third of respondents even think that this group constitute a danger to others.