Background: Information on prevalence, accumulation and variation of common mental disorders is essential for both etiological research and development of mental health service systems.
Methods: A representative sample (6005) of Finland's general adult (> or = 30 years) population was interviewed in the period 2000-2001 with the CIDI for presence of DSM-IV mental disorders during the last 12 months in the comprehensive, multidisciplinary Health 2000 project.
Results: Depressive-, alcohol use- and anxiety disorders were found in 6.5%, 4.5 % and 4.1% of the subjects, respectively. A comorbid disorder was present in 19% of those with any disorder. Males had more alcohol use disorders (7.3 % vs. 1.4 %) and females more depressive disorders (8.3 % vs. 4.6 %). Older age, marriage and employment predicted lower prevalence of mental disorders and their comorbidity. Prevalences of alcohol use- and comorbid disorders were higher in the Helsinki metropolitan area, and depressive disorders in northern Finland.
Conclusions: Mental disorders and their comorbidities are distributed unevenly between sexes and age groups, are particularly associated with marital and employment status, and vary by region. There appears to be no single population subgroup at high risk for all mental disorders, but rather several different subgroups at risk for particular disorders or comorbidity patterns.