(Poor) mental health was measured by asking survey participants five different questions about their emotional state over the previous four weeks, including: “Have you felt calm and composed?” and “Have you felt downhearted and blue?” Based on the answers, a score was calculated ranging from 0 (extremely unhealthy) to 100 (perfectly healthy). People with a score below 60 were identified as mentally unhealthy. Last year, 12 percent of the population aged 12 years and over had poorer mental health. This share has not changed since the period 2017-2019.
Fewest mental health complaints among young people
Young people in the age group 12 to 17 years (7 percent) as well as people over 65 (nearly 10 percent) were least likely to report mental health problems. In the age group 18 to 39 years, approximately 14 percent reported such problems. In all age groups, there is virtually no change relative to 2019. For the period 2017 to 2020 inclusive, no significant changes in mental health complaints are visible in any of the age groups.
Women are relatively more likely to suffer from mental health problems than men: 14 versus 9 percent.
|Groep||Mental health complaints (% )|
|Total (12 yrs and over)||11.9|
|12 to 17 yrs||7.2|
|18 to 24 yrs||13.8|
|25 to 39 yrs||14.5|
|40 to 64 yrs||12.1|
|65 yrs and over||9.7|
Singles most likely to be in poor mental health
Single people under the age of 65 are relatively most likely to have less than excellent mental health. Approximately one-quarter are in poor mental health. This share is higher than among couples in the same age categories with or without children. In 2020, more mental health complaints were reported by single people under the age of 40 (25 percent) compared to 2019 (20 percent). Partners in couples under the age of 40 without children were more likely to have mental health problems (14 percent) than in 2018 (7 percent) and 2017 (8 percent).
Poor mental health was also relatively more prevalent among single parents (21 percent) than among adults in couples with children (8 percent).
|Positie in huishouden||Mental health complaints (%)|
|40 to 64 yrs||23.6|
|65 yrs and over||14.5|
|18 yrs and over in single-parent family||16.2|
|18 yrs and over in family with couple||10.1|
|Under 18 in family with couple||5.6|
|Under 18 in single-parent family*|
|In couple without children, under 40||13.7|
|In couple without children, 40 to 64 yrs||7.7|
|In couple without children, 65 yrs and over||7.8|
|In couple with child(ren)||7.9|
|Parent in single-parent family||21.3|
Slightly more mental health problems in Q4
In Q4 2020, 12.5 percent of people aged 12 years and over had less than excellent mental health, a somewhat higher share than in Q4 2019 (12.0 percent). In the first three quarters of 2020, there was no increase on the previous year.
|kwartaal||2017 (% share of persons aged 12 yrs and over)||2018 (% share of persons aged 12 yrs and over)||2019 (% share of persons aged 12 yrs and over)||2020 (% share of persons aged 12 yrs and over)|
In the period August to December 2020 inclusive, CBS included extra questions in the Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor that were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All respondents aged 12 years and over were asked how they were feeling during the coronavirus crisis in comparison with the preceding period. These results are currently being analysed and will be published later on this year.