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Mental health

Mental Health in Herefordshire

Mental health is an issue of national and local concern.  In the UK one in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year [1] and 11% of children and young people aged between five and fifteen have a clinically diagnosable a mental health issue.[2]  Mental ill-health is the largest cause of disability in the UK.[3]

Mental health prevalence rising but remains lower than for England

Mirroring the national pattern the prevalence of patients in Herefordshire with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses has increased steadily. However, the local figure has remained lower than that for England and in 2017/18 was 0.83% compared to 0.94%. The prevalence of depression in Herefordshire has also risen, increasing by over two thirds since 2012/13 with a figure of 9.1% recorded in 2017/18, although the local rate is lower than that for England as a whole – Figure 1.

Figure 1: Mental health prevalence (all age)

Charts showing the prevalence of 1. schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses and 2. depression in Herefordshire and England from 2012/13 to 2017/18.

Prevalence of mental health disorders in children similar to England

Parental mental illness is one of most common reasons for children to need social services involvement.  Around 4,900 under 18s in Herefordshire are living with a parent with severe mental health issues.

In 2015 over 2,100 children and young people aged 5-16 were estimated to have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder in Herefordshire equating to 8.9% of this age-group, a figure slightly lower than that reported nationally (9.2%). Data for a variety of mental health disorders in children indicate that observed prevalence figures for Herefordshire are similar to those reported across England as a whole.

Hospital admissions for self-harm in children have increased in recent years, with admissions for young women being much higher than admissions for young men. In Herefordshire, the rate of hospital admissions as a result of self-harm in persons aged 10 to 24 years was 444 per 100,000 in 2017/18 which is higher than that reported nationally.

Contact with mental health services similar to national figure

During 2017/18 a total of 8,395 Herefordshire residents were known to be in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services which represents 4.4% of the population, a proportion similar to that for England as a whole (4.5%). Of this total 4.1% (345) spent time in hospital as part of being in contact with these services which represents which is the same proportion as that recorded for England.

Of the individuals in contact with services in Herefordshire 1,425 were under 18 years of age representing 4.0% of this age group which is lower than the national figure of 4.4%. Locally 0.70% (n=10) of those in contact with service were admitted to hospital compared to 0.64% nationally.

Alcohol related mental health problems lower than nationally

Mental health problems are common among those needing treatment for alcohol misuse and alcohol misuse is common among those with a mental health problem. In 2017/18, the rate of admissions to hospital for mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol in Herefordshire was 180 per 100,000 which is appreciably lower than the national figure of 371 per 100,000.


Suicide is a significant cause of death in young adults, and is seen as an indicator of underlying rates of mental ill-health. Suicide is a major issue for society and a leading cause of years of life lost.  Between 2003 and 2013 in the UK over 18,000 people with mental health problems took their own life. 

Herefordshire suicide rate similar to national figure

There were 59 suicides registered in Herefordshire between 2015 and 2017. This corresponds to an overall age standardised suicide rate of 11.7 per 100,000 population, a figures similar to those recorded for England. While the 2015-17 local rate is the second highest recorded this century it is not significantly different for previous figures.

Male suicide rate higher than female rate

As observed nationally the male suicide rate in Herefordshire is much higher than that for females. At 20.0 per 100,000 the 2015-17 rate was the highest recorded this century and was significantly higher than that for England, although this latest local figure was not significantly higher than those recorded since 2000.  In 2015-17 the female suicide rate was 3.5 per 100,000, a figure similar to that recorded across England as a whole – Figure 2.

Figure 2: Suicide rate by gender

Chart showing the suicide rate for males and for females in Herefordshire and in England from 2001/03 to 2015/17.

When looking at the all person age-specific rates of suicide in Herefordshire since 2000 the rates increase with age, being highest among 45- to 49-year-olds (14.5 deaths per 100,000).

By gender males aged 45 to 49 years had the highest rate at 24.0 per 100,000 males, while for females the highest rate of 7.8 per 100,000 was observed in those aged 70 and over.

[1] Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey, McManus, S, Meltzer, H, Brugha, T. S, Bebbington, P. E, & Jenkins, R, The NHS Information Centre for health and social care, 2009.

[2] Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017, NHS Digital, 2018. 

[3] Mental health - Adults, NHS England