How can we improve the health outcomes for Australians with a mental illness?

What’s the problem?

Improving the lives of people with mental health conditions to enable them to realise their full potential and live satisfying lives is a priority.

Alt text Unfortunately, people with mental health conditions do not always have positive experiences in relation to health care and other services. According to the ABS, over one-third (38%) of people with a mental health condition have difficulty accessing service providers, compared with 22% of people without a mental health condition. Some of the most common types of healthcare that could not be obtained by people with a mental health condition were: dental professionals; doctors/general practitioners; medical specialists.

Seven things you need to know

  • Mental illness is more prevalent than many people realise. Mental health problems are the third biggest health problem in Australia, after heart disease and cancer.

  • Depression is currently the leading cause of non-fatal disability.

  • Rates of mental illness are highest for 18-24 year olds.

  • According to the Mindframe National Media Initiative, approximately 14% of Australians are affected by an anxiety disorder in any 12-month period.

  • About 3% of Australians are affected by psychotic illness (e.g. schizophrenia), experiencing episodes where they lose contact with reality.

  • Women are more likely than men to access services for mental health problems. Specifically, women are more likely than men to seek help for anxiety disorders (18% compared with 11%) and mood disorders (7.1% compared with 5.3%).

  • According to a national survey, approximately 35% of people with a mental disorder had used a health service and 29% had consulted a GP within the 12 months prior to the survey.

Solve challenges to shape Australia's tomorrow