Irish people are more concerned about depression than other health issues

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Galway Daily news public lecture on depression and anxiety at NUIG

A study carried out by NUI Galway has found that of all aspects of health, Irish people place the greatest weight on depression and anxiety.

Researchers from the J.E Cairnes School of Business at NUIG studied people’s relative preferences across 3,125 health states, including everything from perfect health to being dead.

The report split health across five categories: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression.

Each category was gauged on five levels of severity from no problem, all the way up to being completely unable to function.

It found that Irish people place the greatest weight on anxiety/depression, followed by pain/discomfort.

Professor Ciaran O’Neill, lead author of the study, said that it revealed a lot about how Irish people’s views on matters of health compared with other countries.

“The work provides valuable insights into those preferences and allows meaningful comparisons of preferences in Ireland with those in other countries,”

“For example, we attach a much higher weight to mental health, anxiety and depression, at severe or extreme levels in Ireland than is the case in England or Germany,” he said.

As part of the study 1,160 surveys were completed between March 2015 and September 2016.

Beyond just curiosity about what worries Irish or German people, it’s claimed that the study will be of great help in creating Quality-adjusted life year models based on Irish preferences.

These are statistical models that measure disease burden, as well as what quality of life that people are living and for how long.

“Quality adjusted life year measures are an integral part of health technology assessments,” said Professor O’Neill

“A method used to assess the relative value for money of alternative uses of healthcare resources, such as those produced by the Health Information and Quality Authority or used by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics in Ireland”

Essentially these are economic models gauging the value for money of different medical interventions.