The 15 most important statistics about depression

Depression is a disorder that has been associated with strong comorbidity with other psychological disorders, in addition to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

It is considered the number one reason people kill themselves and, despite great advances against stigma, many myths about depressive disorders are still prevalent today.

Below we’ll take a look at several statistics on depression. which shows the seriousness of the problem, the importance of following treatment and the need to inform the population about its consequences for health, work, family and the economy.

  • Related article: “Types of Depression: Its Symptoms, Causes and Features”

15 statistics about depression

Depression is a very common mental disorder, which has been associated with strong comorbidity with other disorders, particularly anxiety disorders, in addition to various medical illnesses.

Here you will find some data, along with their percentages, figures and sources, which present statistics on depression and its follow-up over the last 10 years.

1. Number of people with depression

As we said before, depression is a very common mental disorder. The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that more than 300 million people could be diagnosed with a depressive disorder. However, there are even more pessimistic statistics, indicating that this figure is already reaching around 350 million people.

To better understand these numbers, the fact that there are around 350 million people suffering from depression would equate to the current population of Spain multiplied by seven. The percentage of people who suffer from it throughout their lives would be between 8% and 15%

2. Depression and suicide

While not all people who kill themselves are people with a mood disorder, it should be noted that a significant percentage of them commit suicide because they do not see the end of their suffering.

Each year, around 800,000 people die of their own life, being the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29.

has your the high risk of suicide in the population with depressive disordersIt is extremely important to understand the origin of the disorder and to make the psychological and pharmacological treatments more sophisticated.

In the case of Spain, the risk of suicide is 21 times higher than the depressed population compared to the general population. The suicide rate in Spain is 7 per 100,000 inhabitants, which means 10 deaths per day.

3. Percentage of people on treatment

Although there are effective treatments that require few technical resources to apply, more than half of the population affected by depression worldwide do not receive any treatment.

The percentages vary by country, but among those that are still developing or have recently suffered from war, the percentage of people depressed without any treatment can reach 90%.

4. Depression in Europe

All over the old continent there are countries with high cases of depression. The ranking places Germany as the country with the most cases, with more than 4 million, followed by Italy and France, with more than 3 million each and, in fourth place, Spain, with more than two million.

To better understand the number of depressed people in SpainImagine the entire population of Castilla y León (2.5 million) depressed.

5. Percentages by sex

In all European countries, and in line with the global trend, there are more cases of depressed women (5.1% of all women) than depressed men (3.6% of all men). In the case of Spain, depression affects 9.2% of women, while in men it affects 4%.

In Spain, the risk of the general population developing a severe depressive episode once in their lifetime is, as expected, twice as high in women (16.5%) than in men (8.9%).

    6. Risk of depression once in a lifetime

    Factors such as being under 29 or over 55, poverty, unemployment or drug addiction the percentages of increase in leisure, tobacco or alcohol. The prevalence of depression is twice as high among those who are unemployed (9.2) than among those who are working (3.1%).

    7. Depression in children

    In child populations around the world, the WHO estimates that 2% of children aged 6 to 12 suffer from depression. The percentage increases from 12 to 14 years, ranging from 4% to 6%.

    8. Drug use

    The statistics on drug use in Spain are as follows: around 10.7% of the population uses tranquilizers, relaxants or sleeping pills (13.9% in women and 7.4% in men), 4 , 8% of antidepressants (6.7% of women and 2.7% of men).

    9. Seek professional help

    5.4% of the Spanish population indicate having consulted a mental health professional, either a psychologist or a psychiatrist at least once in the past year (6.1% of women and 4.6% of men).

    10. Economic impact

    According to data from the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), depression costs member countries up to 4% of GDP. Although this is a figure from ten years ago, it was estimated that the 2010 depression cost the European Union 92 billion euros.

    It was told loss of productivity caused by absenteeism and presentism about 50% of all costs related in one way or another to depression.

    11. Discontinuation of treatment

    It is disturbing to see that about half of patients, 43%, discontinue treatment.

    We know that a large number of patients who continue treatment do not follow it rigorously, especially if it is psychopharmacological. This is because some antidepressants take several weeks to work and patients want short-term results.

    12. Disability, health problems and hospitalization

    In Spain, depression results in complete functional disability for an average of 47 days per year, 1 partial functional incapacity for 60 days per year.

    Depression has been linked to a risk factor for physical illnesses, particularly those related to the heart or metabolic problems such as diabetes. In Europe, depression accounts for more than 7% of premature mortality.

    The reverse relationship has also been studied, finding that approximately 21.5% (16.3% in men and 31.8% in women) of hospital patients may present with depressive symptoms. About 20% of patients treated in Spanish primary care have depressive disorders.

    13. Improvement with antidepressants

    According to a study by the Furukawa group (2016), about 54% of depressed adults treated with antidepressants see almost 50% improvement in symptoms. Interestingly, between 30% and 40% of adults who received a placebo also saw their symptoms reduced by 50%.

      14. Improved psychotherapy

      62% of adults show improvement after receiving psychotherapy, And the percentage of 66% of those who went to a psychotherapist who applied cognitive-behavioral treatment, according to research by Cuijpers et al (2014).

      In the case of the child population, the improvement is 33%

      15. Relapses

      As for the chances that a person who has suffered from one depressive episode will develop another throughout their life, the statistics vary considerably.

      In general, the onset of a depressive episode has been associated with a higher likelihood of relapse later, short or long term. About 60% of patients who have had a depressive episode have at least one new episode during their life..

      However, and according to research conducted by the Monroe Group in 2012, approximately 50% of the population who have experienced depression will only experience this particular depression.

      However, other research (Richards, 2011) shows the following data: between 25 and 40% of patients who recover after treatment will have another depressive episode within the next 2 years, 60% of them after 5 years and 85% after 15 years

      Bibliographical references:

      • Fernández, Fernando and Martínez, Africa and Martín, Ana and Pérez-Fuentes, Maria and Molero Jurat, Maria De la Mar and Gázquez Linares, Josep. (2015). Prevalence of depression in Spain: analysis of the last 15 years. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education. 5.1.1989 / ejihpe.v5i2.118.
      • Cuijpers, P., Stringaris, A. and Wolpert, M. (2020). Outcomes of Depression Treatment: Challenges and Opportunities. The Lancet, 1-2.
      • Furukawa TA, Cipriani A, Atkinson LZ et al. (2016) Placebo response rates in antidepressant trials: a systematic review of published and unpublished double-blind randomized controlled trials. Lancet Psychiatry; 3: 1059-66.
      • Cuijpers P, Karyotaki E, Weitz E, Andersson G, Hollon SD, van Straten A. (2014) The effects of psychotherapies for major depression in adults on remission, recovery and improvement: a meta-analysis. J affects the disorder; 159: 118-26.
      • Bear HA, Edbrooke-Childs J, Norton S, Krause KR, Wolpert M. (2019) Systematic review and meta-analysis: Outcomes of routine mental health care for youth with depression and / or anxiety. J Am Acad Psychiatry Child Adolescent 2019; published online 24 December.
      • Monroe SM, Harkness KL. (2012) Is Depression a Chronic Mental Illness? Psychol Med; 42: 899-902.
      • World Health Organization. (January 30, 2020). Depression. Retrieved from:

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