The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Published 22 May 2018

Mental health

Most children and adults in Sweden report that they have good health, while many also report recurring mental and somatic problems such as headaches, feeling low and difficulties in getting to sleep.

There are differences between various groups. Girls report mental and somatic problems more often than boys, and women have problems more often than men. Young people report psychosomatic problems more often than older people. If employment is considered, persons who are unemployed report mental and somatic problems more often than persons who are employed. LGBTQ persons report worse mental health compared to heterosexual and cisgender persons*.

Over the last decade the proportion of persons in Sweden with problems of nervousness, apprehension or anxiety has been relatively unchanged among 16–84-year-olds. In the age group 16–29 years, the proportion with this type of problem was 54 percent among women and 33 percent among men in 2016. In the other age groups, the figure is roughly one-third for women and one-fourth for men.

Since the mid-1980s, self-reported mental and somatic problems have increased among school children in Sweden, primarily among 13 and 15-year-old girls. See Child and adolescent health.

*Cisgender is a term for persons whose experiences of their own body, legal gender, gender identity and gender expression agree with the norm for the sex they were assigned at birth. Another word for persons who are not transgender.

Our mission

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has been assigned to build and develop the work aiming to promote mental health and prevent mental ill-health among the entire population at a national level. An important part of this work is to compile, analyse and convey new knowledge within the area. This is conducted, for example, in the form of a national public health survey "Health on equal terms" which the Agency has performed annually since 2004. Another example of how new knowledge is developed is when we compile different types of literature reviews within the mental health area.

Read more about our suicide prevention work