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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

Chapter 7 - Laidback Science: Messages from Horizontal Epidemiology

from Section 2 - Scoping


In the last two decades or so, mental health epidemiology has taught us two important messages. The first is that the personal and social burden of mental health conditions, long underestimated, is significantly higher than prevalent physical health conditions such as cancer or diabetes (Olesen and Leonardi, 2003; Andlin-Sobocki & Rehm, 2005).

Second, the cause of this burden is not mortality, or even morbidity, but disability, and, in particular, a wide range of psychosocial difficulties that shape the lived experience of persons who have these disorders and which profoundly affect their quality of life (WHO, 2006; Murray, et al., 2012). Psychosocial difficulties range from problems with attention and memory, emotional lability and listlessness, to disrupted sleep patterns, problems in managing daily routines and interacting with significant others and difficulties at work.