Mental Health Overview

Everyone should take care of their mental wellbeing and know or find out what is good for them. This can help to prevent mental health problems and to increase the resilience against misfortune and setbacks. Here you can find general information general information about common mental health disorders, links to available services in Zurich/Switzerland and links to further resources.

How are you feeling today?

Image source: OECD (2012), Sick on the Job?: Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work

Mental health should be seen as a continuum. Everyone has a current mental health status. Each year, about 20 % of the general population have a diagnosable mental health problem and about 5 % even a severe mental health disorder (1). But also if there is no diagnosable mental health problem, there can be other strains on the emotional or mental health like stress, loneliness or a broken heart (2). It's better to be proactive to prevent problems from getting worse. Whether it is finding advice, counselling, coaching,  talking with friends, taking part in social activities, doing something creative, staying active, accepting yourself, relaxing, learning new things, getting enough sleep or sunlight, eating well or seeking help, there is something everyone can do for their mental wellbeing (3). Below you can find links to services in Zurich/Switzerland  for every mental health status.

General information about common mental health disorders

Mental health disorders are fairly common (see above) and are responsible for about 20 % of the burden of disease (=years lived with a disease+years lost due to the disease) in Europe (4). Effective means of treating mental health disorders like psychotherapy, counseling or medication exist and recovery rates for many common mental health disorders are good. The earlier a treatment starts the better the recovery rates are.

Image source: OECD/EU (2018), Health at a Glance: Europe 2018: State of Health in the EU Cycle,

Anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and alcohol and substance abuse are the most common mental health disorders (5,6). Note that the differences in the prevalence between different countries are likely the result of different degrees of stigmatization/tabooization of mental health disorders in the countries (6).  Specific phobias and social phobia are the most common anxiety disorders, major depression is the most common depressive disorder and alcohol abuse is the most common alcohol and substance abuse. Also common are bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

Mental health disorders typically start in adolescence or early adulthood. The median onset age across all mental health disorders is age 14 and by age 24, 75 % of disorders have developed (1). Due to a lack of awareness and fear of stigmatization, there is a large under-treatment of mental health disorders (see treatment gap) and a gap between the onset and first treatment of a disorder of 12 years on average (1,7,8). These gaps in treatment cause unnecessary, additional suffering and are caused primarily by stigma and discrimination of people with mental health disorders. The attitude towards mental health disorders should be the same as towards physical health disorders. People with mental health disorders need respect and support by their families, friends and society.