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Poor psychological well-being prevalence in the Belgian population 2001-2018

Over the last decade, the share of Belgians suffering from poor psychological well-being rose by roughly 8 percent from 2001 to 2018. Poor psychological well-being refers to the intensity of certain psychological symptoms that impact one’s mental well-being. Psychological well-being is based on the answers to the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Ultimately, poor psychological well-being can be understood as a breach in one’s mental health, which could lead to a state of mental distress, or even to a mental disorder. In 2018, a third of the population declared to have poor psychological well-being in Belgium. In the region of Brussels, the share of Belgians who declared to suffer from such a mental state reached a striking 39 percent.

Mental health in the Belgian population

  In 2018, it was estimated that 17.7 percent of the population suffered from mental distress. This psychological state refers to someone who experiences at least two symptoms of the GHQ-12. Such a state of psychological distress is not, however, necessarily linked to an illness or a mental disorder. Nonetheless, in 2020, it was estimated that 16 percent of Belgians suffered from a depressive disorder and 20 percent of them from an anxiety disorder. However, such high numbers can be a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent social restrictions.

Subjective figures

  In 2018, mental health concerns in Belgium frequently revolved around depression, anxiety, and stress. As any scale evaluating psychological problems, a margin of error is to be considered. Furthermore, the presented share of the population is calculated using a logistic regression. Therefore, it is to be considered as a general picture of the situation across the country.

Share of population with poor psychological well-being in Belgium from 2001 to 2018

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

2001 to 2018

Age group

15 years and older

Special properties

Population in Belgium

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

The figures have been taken from several publications, the number of participants therefore varied. The source, however, does not specify the number of respondents. Furthermore, the sampling of respondents was made online and not controlled scientifically. However, a logistic regression model based on age, gender, and the yearly population, was used to evaluate the prevalence of depressive disorders in the entire Belgian population.

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Statistics on "Mental health in Belgium"

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