How has your mental health changed over the past year?

Posted 7 months ago by David McManus
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Two in five Australians have experienced a mental disorder. [Source: Shutterstock]
Two in five Australians have experienced a mental disorder. [Source: Shutterstock]

When did you last have a mental health consultation?

Key points:

  • Over 40 percent of Australians aged 16 – 85 years have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime
  • One in five Australians have experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has called for immediate action to address psychiatry shortages

 

The National Study of Mental Health and Well-being, 2020 – 2022 report found that more than two in five Aussies have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime, based on a study of nearly 16,000 participants.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has called for systemic changes to address the workforce shortage of clinicians regarding Australia’s mental health epidemic.

“We can no longer afford to sit back and watch this mental health crisis unfold in the country,” Dr Astha Tomar, president-elect of the RANZCP, said.

“These statistics are deeply concerning and highlight the pressing need for Federal, State and Territory Governments to work with clinicians at the front lines to create a comprehensive, long-term workforce planning and resourcing strategy and enact system-wide reform.”

Dr Tomar said the projected number of psychiatrists over the next decade would lead to a constrained system that would not be able to meet demand or provide adequate care.

“Right now, the mental health workforce cannot keep up with the needs of the community,” she added.

“The system is fragmented and more people need help than we can provide. For people whose whole profession is about helping people, that’s incredibly demoralising.

The data found that approximately 1.1 million Australians aged 16 – 24 had experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months, surging by more than 50 percent in the past 15 years among young populations.

 

“Young Australians, women and those identifying as LGBTQIA+ are disproportionately affected by mental health issues,” the president-elect said.

“Federal, State and Territory Governments must invest in the training and recruitment of more psychiatrists to ensure that our youth and vulnerable populations have access to safe and high-quality mental health care that is timely and effective.”

Linda Fardell, ABS head of health statistics, said that nearly three in five people who identified as LGBTQIA+ had experienced a mental health disorder in the past 12 months, compared to one in five who identified as heterosexual in that same period.

“Anxiety was the most common group of mental disorders in 2020 – 2022. More than one in six Australians had an anxiety disorder such as social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder in the previous 12 months,” Ms Fardell said.

“7.5 percent of people had an affective disorder, such as depression, while 3.3 percent had a substance use disorder.

“Nearly a quarter of all Australians aged 16 – 34 years had at least one consultation with a health professional for their mental health in the last 12 months.

“8.2 percent of people in this age group also accessed other services for their mental health, including treatment programs, crisis support, counselling, support groups and chat rooms.

“Almost half of all people who had a mental disorder in the previous 12 months saw a health professional for their mental health and one in seven accessed other services.”

 

If you or someone you love needs 24/7 mental health support, please visit:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

13YARN: 13 92 76

 

How has your mental health changed over the past 12 months? Let the team at Talking Disability know.