Mental Health and the Australian Population

In the E‐Mental Health Strategy for Australia, released by the Federal Government in 2012, the following statistics were provided;

"Approximately 17.2 per cent or 3.8 million Australians are estimated to be affected by mental illness in any one year – meaning that they experience symptoms at diagnostic levels, for either brief or extended periods.  This estimate excludes dementia and alcohol/drug-related disorders, except where these are concurrent with a mental disorder. The figure rises to about 20 per cent, or 4.4 million people, when alcohol and drug-related conditions are included.

A further 15 per cent of the population have experienced a mental disorder previously in their lives but not had symptoms over the past 12 months at a level that would warrant a formal diagnosis.  In total, approximately one in three (32 per cent) of Australians will experience a mental illness during their lives.  When alcohol and drug use disorders are included, this figure rises to 45 per cent of the population.

Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common disorders, affecting approximately 9 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, of the adult population each year.  Collectively referred to as ‘high prevalence’ illnesses, these disorders include diverse conditions (for example, post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression), with differing treatment requirements and outcomes.

It is these disorders, in mild to moderate severity, that the evidence shows can be effectively treated through online programs.

Mental illness also includes other less common or ‘low prevalence’ conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Together, these two disorders affect approximately 1 per cent of the adult population in any one year, and 2 per cent over the course of a lifetime.  Prevalence rates vary across the lifespan and are highest in the early adult years, the period during which people are usually completing education, establishing families and independent working lives."
The 14th International Mental Health Conference will focus on the complex mental health issues of Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Dementia. It will be held at Outrigger, Surfers Paradise on Monday the 5th and Tuesday the 6th of August 2013.  Optional workshops will be held on Wednesday the 7th of August.

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