More than two in five Australians face mental health issues in their lifetime, ABS study finds

More than two in five (43.7%) Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 have suffered from a mental disorder in their lifetime, according to the latest findings released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing study used the World Health Organization’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0 diagnostic tool (CIDI Tool 3.0) to determine mental disorders.

Linda Fardell, head of health and disability statistics at ABS, said in a statement that the new study paints a comprehensive picture of mental disorders in the community and provides insight into well-being. She says:

“Nationally, the study shows that 43.7% (8.6 million) of Australians aged 16 to 85 have suffered from a mental disorder at some point in their lives. In 2020-2021, one in five people (21.4%) suffered from a mental disorder. Anxiety was the most common group of mental disorders; 16.8% of all Australians had an anxiety disorder, 7.5% had an affective disorder such as depression, while 3.3% had a substance use disorder.

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The study also shows that around 1.1 million (39.6%) young adults aged 16-24 suffered from a mental disorder in 2020-21. Ms Fardell added:

“Almost half (46.6%) of young women and a third (31.2%) of young men aged 16-24 suffered from a mental disorder in 2020-2021, with anxiety disorders being the type of most common disorder in young females and males.”

Fardell further adds that the study also provides insight into the steps people take to manage their mental health.

“Around 17.5% (3.4 million) of Australians had at least one consultation with a healthcare professional about their mental health in 2020-21. General practitioners were the most frequently consulted type of healthcare professional.

According to the study, among people with mental disorders in 2020-2021, almost half (47.1%) had at least one consultation with a health professional for their mental health.

In addition to these consultations, 4.4% (or 864,100) of Australians have accessed at least one digital service for their mental health, such as crisis support or counseling services and online treatment programs or tools. line.

This study was funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care as part of the Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study.

ABS will publish the results of the second cohort (2021-22) of the study in 2023, along with the results of a combined sample on the ABS website.

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If you or someone you know needs help or support, contact: Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

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