Some of us on this side of the pond have suspected such for years, but nobody thought it was this bad:
Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.
With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.
“Mental disorders have become Europe’s largest health challenge of the 21st century,” the study’s authors said.
The article woefully neglects the obligatory dot connecting, we can do that here.
Ruling out the easy stuff first, let’s assume that most modern democratic (even social democratic ones like in the EU) nations provide pretty much the same things for it’s citizens (and you might disagree with this) in the way of creature comforts and those things that facilitate an “ease of well being”, and assuming that it is not one of these reasons:
Nanny State- We have that here, to a degree that is hard to differentiate in this new era of Obama.
Welfare State- Again, we are really millimeters behind in providing cradle to grave entitlements.
Roiled Markets/Economic Uncertainty- more of the same right here in the states.
No Confidence in our Leaders- birds of a feather.
Unemployment- It is higher in Europe, but not demonstrably (9.5% collectively), this can’t be the tipping point.
Creeping Sharia/Immigration Assimilation Difficulties- it might be cavalier to rule this out since Europe is struggling with this, which would naturally cause its citizens some consternation and strife, but for this post I will rule it out and declare it a tempest in a teapot.
A direct comparison of the prevalence of mental illnesses in other parts of the world was not available because different studies adopt varying parameters.
And this is where the truth probably lies, methodology/benchmarks not applied uniformly to all nations, hence this “mental illness” would be plaguing most of the industrialized world.
Some other factors to consider:
Economics- If we follow the money and suspect that most studies are economically driven, this could be a play for more research money, grant money, or to put the heavy lifting on the government to pony up that which drug companies are leery and unwilling to do. Creating a mental health crisis will certainly light a fire,” putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience”.
The decline of morals/religious values- If Karl Marx was right about religion being the opium of the people, a lack thereof of religion and it’s teachings, or a deliberate separation between the people and the concept of religion could have a material impact. For some, religion has been effective in managing anxiety, depression, providing hope and comfort in healing a damaged psyche.
In times of uncertainty, I think all of us get a little more crazy, more anxious, and more circumspect, and I don’t think Europeans are that much different then the rest of us.