Researchers have found that the majority of people will develop a mental disorder at some point in their lives.
In a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, participants in New Zealand were monitored from birth to middle-age.
The researchers checked in with the participants throughout the years to deduce whether they had developed signs of a mental illness.
Over 80 per cent of those researched developed a mental illness at some point during the study, while only 17 per cent’s mental health stayed the same entirely.
This shows that developing a mental illness is actually the norm, as opposed to stigmatizing.
Researcher Aaron Reuben, writing in the Scientific American, explained:
“Put another way, our study shows that you are more likely to experience a bout of mental illness than you are to develop diabetes, heart disease or any kind of cancer whatsoever—combined,”
He continued: “Ultimately, the most important suggestion from the newest research is that mental health concerns may be nearly universal.”
Reuben then compared mental illnesses to common colds, explaining that developing one is ‘part of the normal wear and tear of life’.
“Acknowledging this universality may allow us to finally devote adequate resources to screening, treating and preventing mental illnesses. “
“It may also help us go easier on ourselves and our loved ones when we, inevitably, hit our own rough patches in the road.”
The research also described a web-based tool, launched by Mental Health America, that allows individuals to screen themselves for potential mental disorders.
Since it was introduced three years ago, over two million people have used the tool, with 3,000 individuals a day logging on to research their symptoms.