Since 2004, Beyond Blue has commissioned the Depression Monitor survey. This survey provides a national snapshot of awareness, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour relating to depression and anxiety in the Australian community.
Overall, the data collected from 2004 to 2012 indicates that awareness and knowledge about depression and anxiety in the Australian community has improved over time. It is evident that:
- people understand that depression and anxiety are common
- people can identify some common signs and symptoms of depression
- people understand that depression is treatable
- people understand the impact of depression on individuals and the community
- people understand that some groups have a greater risk of depression.
It also indicates that there are improvements in community stigma:
- fewer people hold negative, stigmatising attitudes towards people with depression and anxiety
- most people are comfortable socialising and working with people who have depression.
Of even greater importance is evidence indicating that more people are taking positive action for themselves or others in response to depression. People are more likely to:
- seek information about depression – The proportion of people having sought information for depression rose from 35 per cent to 44 per cent between 2004 and 2012.
- seek support from those close to them – The proportion of people indicating they would turn to family members or friends if depressed rose from 47 per cent to 65 per cent between 2004 and 2012.
- get help that is needed – The proportion of people indicating they or someone in their family had at some stage received help for depression rose from 81 per cent in 2004 to 88 per cent in 2012.
While many organisations and individuals have contributed to these positive changes, there is evidence that the work of Beyond Blue, in particular, is leading to community-wide improvements in mental health. The Depression Monitor data demonstrates that people who are aware of Beyond Blue were more likely than the general population to:
- know some common symptoms of depression
- hold less stigmatising views of people with depression
- identify suitable treatment options
- get help for depression
- be aware of unhelpful approaches for someone with depression.
This data indicates that Beyond Blue is achieving its goals of increasing awareness of depression and anxiety; reducing associated stigma and discrimination; and improving help-seeking for people with depression and anxiety.
Download the Beyond Blue Depression Monitor: Independent findings from 2004 to 2012