Psychological distress

In 2018, the proportion of the population aged 15 and over who are in a situation of psychological distress in Belgium amounted to 17.9%. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced.

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Psychological distress - Belgium

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 1997200120042008201320182018//19972018//2013
Belgium17.213.212.714.017.917.70.1-0.2
//: Average Growth Rates

Sciensano (2020), Gisle L, Drieskens S, Demarest S, Van der Heyden J. Santé mentale. Enquête de santé 2018, Bruxelles, Belgique: D/2020/14.440/3, www.enquetesante.be, Belgian Health Interview Survey - Interactive Analysis, https://hisia.wiv-isp.be/ (consulted on 10/11/2020).

Psychological distress by region - Belgium

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 1997200120042008201320182018//19972018//2013
Brussels-Capital Region20.816.815.919.324.921.60.2-2.8
Flemish Region15.111.511.212.716.015.00.0-1.3
Walloon Region20.015.214.615.119.921.60.41.7
//: Average Growth Rates

Sciensano (2020), Gisle L, Drieskens S, Demarest S, Van der Heyden J. Santé mentale. Enquête de santé 2018, Bruxelles, Belgique: D/2020/14.440/3, www.enquetesante.be, Belgian Health Interview Survey - Interactive Analysis, https://hisia.wiv-isp.be/ (consulted on 10/11/2020).

Psychological distress by sex - Belgium

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 1997200120042008201320182018//19972018//2013
females21.715.715.316.520.021.1-0.11.1
males12.810.49.811.215.514.00.4-2.0
//: Average Growth Rates

Sciensano (2020), Gisle L, Drieskens S, Demarest S, Van der Heyden J. Santé mentale. Enquête de santé 2018, Bruxelles, Belgique: D/2020/14.440/3, www.enquetesante.be, Belgian Health Interview Survey - Interactive Analysis, https://hisia.wiv-isp.be/ (consulted on 10/11/2020).

Psychological distress by age - Belgium

percentage of population

 1997200120042008201320182018//19972018//2013
15-2415.313.713.214.412.417.10.56.6
25-3415.113.511.812.319.020.61.51.6
35-4420.813.615.614.918.321.10.12.9
45-5419.113.113.316.820.918.5-0.2-2.4
55-6413.211.99.610.817.416.00.9-1.7
65-7419.112.710.314.514.112.6-2.0-2.2
>7417.813.413.613.220.716.2-0.4-4.8
//: Average Growth Rates

Sciensano (2020), Gisle L, Drieskens S, Demarest S, Van der Heyden J. Santé mentale. Enquête de santé 2018, Bruxelles, Belgique: D/2020/14.440/3, www.enquetesante.be, Belgian Health Interview Survey - Interactive Analysis, https://hisia.wiv-isp.be/ (consulted on 10/11/2020).

Psychological distress by income - Belgium

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 1997200120042008201320182018//19972018//2013
quintile 120.515.816.619.523.626.31.22.2
quintile 221.313.815.717.321.420.3-0.2-1.0
quintile 315.513.111.414.517.519.51.12.2
quintile 415.015.211.811.716.216.20.40.0
quintile 513.711.411.311.213.713.2-0.2-0.7
//: Average Growth Rates

Sciensano (2020), Gisle L, Drieskens S, Demarest S, Van der Heyden J. Santé mentale. Enquête de santé 2018, Bruxelles, Belgique: D/2020/14.440/3, www.enquetesante.be, Belgian Health Interview Survey - Interactive Analysis, https://hisia.wiv-isp.be/ (consulted on 10/11/2020).

Definition: the proportion of the population aged 15 and over who are in a situation of psychological distress. A person is considered to be in such a situation when at least four symptoms are highlighted on the basis of the following twelve questions: Have you been able to concentrate on whatever you're doing?; Have you had lost much sleep due to worry?; Have you felt like you were being useful in life?; Have you felt capable of making decisions?; Have you felt constantly tense or stressed?; Have you felt like you couldn't cope with your difficulties?; Have you been able to enjoy (gain satisfaction from) your day-to-day activities?; Have you been able to cope with your problems?; Have you been unhappy and depressed?; Have you lost confidence in yourself?; Have you considered yourself to be worthless?; Have you been feeling reasonably happy, all things considered?

These twelve questions came from the General Health Questionnaire or GHQ-12. They assess the respondents' perceived psychological state in the weeks prior to the interview by comparing it with what they consider to be their usual state (Sciensano, 2020).

The (raw) data comes from the National Health Surveys carried out by the Scientific Institute of Public Health/Sciensano.

Since these data are based on surveys, a margin of uncertainty should be taken into account. This margin of uncertainty increases as the indicator is calculated on smaller sub-populations. The confidence intervals for these data are available on the Sciensano website.

Goal: the proportion of the population aged 15 and over who are in a situation of psychological distress must be reduced.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 3.4: "By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being."

International comparison: no comparison can be made, since the data are not available on the Eurostat website.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs but is related to goal 3 since psychological distress is a measure of the overall health and well-being of the population.

Sources

  • General

    • SDG, objectifs de développement durable (Sustainable Development Goals): Nations Unies (2015), Transformer notre monde : le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Résolution adoptée par l’Assemblée générale le 25 septembre 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

    • Indicateurs: Nations Unies (2017), Travaux de la Commission de statistique sur le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Résolution adoptée par l’Assemblée générale le 6 juillet 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

    • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulté le 24/09/2020).

    • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulté le 24/09/2020).
  • Specific

    • Sciensano (2020), Gisle L, Drieskens S, Demarest S, Van der Heyden J., Santé mentale. Enquête de santé 2018, Brussels, Belgium, Numéro de rapport: D/2020/14.440/3, www.enquetesante.be (consulted on 29/10/2020).

More information is available in French and Dutch.