Statistics

beyondblue uses statistics from trusted references and research.

Statistics have been categorised in alphabetical order below, click the relevant category for the statistic you're looking for:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Message: Latest evidence suggests Indigenous Australians are at least twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous Australians.

Breakdown: Indigenous Australians were two times more likely to die by suicide than non-indigenous Australians in 2016, with a rate of 23.8 per 100,000 Indigenous Australians dying by suicide that year compared to 12.3 per 100,000 non-Indigenous people.1 Due to data quality issues, this data refers only to New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Message: Indigenous Australians are nearly three times more likely to be psychologically distressed than non-Indigenous Australians.

Breakdown: Over one third (32.5%) of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders experience high to very high levels of psychological distress, indicative of a probable mental health condition, compared to one in eight non-Indigenous Australians (12.3%).2 This means they are 2.6 times more likely to experience high to very high levels of psychological distress than non-Indigenous Australians.

Message: Racism, both perceived and actual experiences, is increasing which affects wellbeing.

Breakdown: 37% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have experienced verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months in 2016 compared to 31% in 2014,3 and there is a ‘dose’ effect: the risk of high or very high levels of psychological distress increases as the volume of racism increases.4

References

1. 3303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (2016). Preliminary data. Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians Table 12.1

2.4727.0.55.001 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: First Results, Australia, 2012-13 (2013). Table 1.3 Psychological distress based on K5 (Kessler) and reflects them scoring in the high or very high range

3. 2016 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, Reconciliation Australia.

4. Ferdinand, Angeline. & Paradies, Yin. & Kelaher, Margaret. & Lowitja Institute, issuing body.  (2013).  Mental health impacts of racial discrimination in Victorian Aboriginal communities: the Localities Embracing and Accepting Diversity (LEAD) Experiences of Racism Survey.  Victoria: Lowitja Institute.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities

Message: There is a need for more conclusive prevalence data.

Breakdown: The last known prevalence rates can be drawn from Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2008 analysis of a large national survey, which found that respondents born overseas recorded lower prevalence of some mental disorders, in comparison to respondents born in Australia.1 However more recent research contradicts this and indicates that people from CALD backgrounds are at an increased risk of developing mental health conditions.2

Message: There is a need for increased funding for CALD early intervention mental health services.

Research from both Australia and overseas has consistently highlighted that immigrant and refugee populations are at higher risk of severe mental illness, and tend to have higher rates of diagnosis of psychosis upon presenting at acute inpatient units, than the general population. CALD consumers also tend to access mental health services through clinical emergency services at a severe, or crisis, stage of their condition, which drastically diminishes recovery prospects.3

Message: People from CALD backgrounds require culturally-suitable supports and interventions.

Research conducted within the Queensland Transcultural Mental Health centre found that due to stress and trauma related to leaving their country of origin and resettlement, migrants from Asia and North Africa were at greater risk of types of mental health conditions. Support and clinical interventions need to therefore be delivered in a culturally sensitive way to address the trauma related to such circumstances for these communities. 4

Message: The specific mental health risks for asylum seekers and refugees must become a priority for multicultural intervention approaches.

Breakdown: For Tamil Asylum seekers and Vietnamese refugees, rates of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at least three to four times more likely than the general population, while refugees and asylum seekers are at greater risk to self-harm behaviours and suicide.5

Message: It is important to recognise and address the specific mental health risk factors posed by discrimination.

Breakdown: A study of 1,139 people from CALD backgrounds living in Australia, found that higher incidences of racial discrimination were associated with poorer mental health. Also, strategies which look to prevent occurrences of discrimination were found to be more effective in reducing mental and emotional distress for minorities, than interventions which focus on CALD community responses to discrimination.6

Message: Other social factors which contribute to poorer mental health in migrant communities must be addressed.

Breakdown: Other research through MHIMA outlined several other mental health risk factors, which create barriers for CALD populations to participate in areas of Australian society. These include language barriers, loss of family ties, cultural adjustment difficulties, and inability to use knowledge and occupational skills which lead to difficulty in gaining meaningful employment. 7

References

1.Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, cat. no. 4326.0. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008.

2. Minas H, et al. Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia: Developing a Culture of Inclusion 2013 p 13

3. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA). Mental Health and Australia’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: A Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs, 2011

4. Khawaja N, McCarthy R, Vivienne B, Dunne M P. Characteristics of culturally and Linguistically Diverse Mental Health Clients 2013

5. Minas H, et al. Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia: Developing a Culture of Inclusion 2013 p 13

6. Ferdinand A, Paradies Y, Kelaher M. Mental Health Impacts of Racial Discrimination in Australian Culturally and Linguistically Divers Communities: A cross-sectional study 2015 p 12

7. Minas H, et al. Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia: Developing a Culture of Inclusion 2013 p 8

Children/Youth

Message: Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14. 1

Message: Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of young Australians. 2

Message: Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25. 3

Message: One in seven young people aged 4 to 17 years experience a mental health condition in any given year.

13.9% of children and young people (aged 4 to 17 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder in the last 12 months.4

Message: One in ten young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt, and one in 40 will attempt suicide. 5

6.9% of children and young people (aged 4 to 17 years) had suffered from an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months 6

Message: Young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help.

Only 31% of young women and 13% of young men with mental health problems had sought any professional help.7

Message: Major depressive disorders are more common in young people than children.

The prevalence of major depressive disorder is higher in young people (12 to 17 years) than children (4 to 11 years) – 5% compared to 1.1%.8

Message: Almost one-fifth of all young people aged 11 to 17 years experience high or very high levels of psychological distress.

19.9% of all young people (11 to 17 years) had high or very high levels of psychological distress in the previous 12 months, however for females aged 16 to 17 years and young people with major depressive disorder, this was significantly higher (36.2% and 80.7% respectively).9

Message: One in ten young people aged 12 to 17 years have engaged in self-harm.

About three quarters of these adolescents themselves in the previous 12 months.10

Message: Suicide is responsible for one-third of all deaths of young people aged 14-25 years.

Suicide rates among young people are at the highest they’ve been for over a decade, and now account for around one-third of all deaths in those aged 15 to 24.11

Message: The rate of suicide among Indigenous young people is significantly higher than among non-Indigenous young people.

The number of Indigenous young people that die by suicide is higher than the number of non-Indigenous young people. This number of Indigenous young people taking their own life is also increasing.12

Message: Deaths of children (5 to 14 years) by suicide are rare.

Based on 5 year aggregate scores from 2009 to 2013, age-standardised suicide rates were low in both males and females (both 0.5 per 100,000 respectively).13

References

1. Kessler, RD et al. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62: p. 593-602.

2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Causes of Death, Australia, 2014. Catalogue No. 3303.0.Canberra: ABS. Accessed 2 March 2015 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0?OpenDocument

3. Kessler, RD et al. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62: p. 593-602.

4. Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

5. Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

6. Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

7. Slade T, Johnston A, Teesson M, Whiteford H, Burgess P, Pirkis J, et al. (2009) The Mental Health of Australians 2: Report on the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing.

8. Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

9. Commissioner for Children and Young People WA. (2015). Our Children Can’t Wait – Review of the implementation of recommendations of the 2011 Report of the Inquiry into the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in WA, Perth: Commissioner for Children and Young People.

10. Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

11. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Causes of Death, Australia, 2014. Catalogue No. 3303.0.Canberra: ABS. Accessed 2 March 2015 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0?OpenDocument

12. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Causes of Death, Australia, 2014. Catalogue No. 3303.0.Canberra: ABS. Accessed 2 March 2015 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0?OpenDocument

13. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Causes of Death, Australia, 2014. Catalogue No. 3303.0.Canberra: ABS. Accessed 2 March 2015 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0?OpenDocument

LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex people^)

Message: LGBTI Australians are far more likely to be psychologically distressed than non-LGBTI Australians

Breakdown: One study of 3,835 LGBTI Australians found that they scored considerably higher than the national average on the K10 scale, with a score of 19.6 versus 14.5.[i]

Message: One in five LGB Australians is currently experiencing depression, which is more than triple the rate of heterosexual Australians.

Breakdown: 19.2% of homosexual/bisexual Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months.* This is more than triple the rate of heterosexual Australians (6.0%) aged 16 to 85. The research featured only homosexual/bisexual and heterosexual categories and it is unclear how or if transgender and intersex people responded.[ii]

Message: One in three LGB Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition, which is more than double the rate of heterosexual Australians

Breakdown: 31.5% of homosexual/bisexual Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months.** This is more than double the rate of heterosexual Australians (14.1%) aged 16 to 85. The research featured only homosexual/bisexual and heterosexual categories and it is unclear how or if transgender and intersex people responded. [iii]

Message: There is some evidence that, within the LGBT community, people identifying as transgender and people with intersex variations have some of the highest levels of psychological distress

Breakdown: The above-mentioned K10 score of 19.6 included a mean score for transgender males of 23.2 and transgender females of 23.2. This compares to a mean score for bisexual women of 21.8, a mean score for bisexual men of 20.5, a mean score for lesbian women of 19 and a mean score for gay men of 18.8.[iv]

There is relatively little data about the mental health of people with intersex variations in Australia. However a small study in 2009 found intersex adults are markedly psychologically distressed, with rates of suicidal tendencies and self-harming behaviour on a level comparable to women in the community with a history of physical or sexual abuse[v]. The National LGBTI Health Alliance has also stated that overseas research and anecdotal evidence in Australia indicate that intersex adults have rates of suicidal tendencies and self-harming behaviour well above those of the general population[vi]. An Australian study with people with intersex variations found that 42% of participants had thought about self-harm and 26% had self-harmed, and 60% had thought about suicide and 19% had attempted suicide. Responses about mental health conditions that they had been diagnosed with revealed depression was the most common, followed by anxiety[vii].  

Message: LGBTI people are far more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual people

Breakdown:  LGBT people are between 3.5 and 14 times more likely to try and die by suicide as their heterosexual peers.[viii]

Message: One in six young LGBTI people has attempted suicide and one third have harmed themselves

Breakdown: 16% of LGBTI Australians aged between 16 and 27 have attempted suicide and 33% have self-harmed.[ix] Looking at transgender young people specifically, around 3 in every 4 transgender young people have experienced anxiety or depression, 4 out of 5 transgender young people have ever engaged in self-harm, and almost 1 in 2 have ever attempted suicide (48%)[x].

^ A lesbian is a woman whose primary emotional and sexual attraction is towards another woman. Gay is a term mostly used to describe men whose primary emotional and sexual attraction is towards other men. However, it can be used to describe both men and women who are attracted towards people of the same sex. Bisexual refers to a person who is emotional and/or sexually attracted to people of more than one gender identity. Transgender (or sometimes trans or trans*) is an umbrella term used to describe a person whose gender identity or gender expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned at birth. Not all people who identify as transgender undergo medical procedures to change their bodies. Intersex is a general term used to describe a set of conditions where a person is born with reproductive organs or sex chromosomes that don’t fit with typical definitions of male or female.

* An affective disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: depressive episode, dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder.

** An anxiety disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

References

1. Private Lives 2, The second national survey of the health and wellbeing of GLBT Australians 2012 p VII

2. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 p 32

3. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 p 32

4. Private Lives 2, The second national survey of the health and wellbeing of GLBT Australians 2012 p 36

5. Schutzmann, K. et al (2009) Psychological distress, self-harming behaviour, and suicidal tendencies in adults with disorders of sex development p 1

6. Rosenstreich, G. (2013) LGBTI People Mental Health and Suicide. Revised 2nd Edition. National LGBTI Health Alliance. Sydney p 3

7. Jones, T., Hart, B., Carpenter, M., Ansara, G., Leonard, L., Lukce, J. (2016). Intersex: Stories and Statistics from Australia. Open Book Publishers.

8. Suicide Prevention Australia Position Statement, Suicide and self-harm among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities 2009 p 6

9. Robinson, KH, Bansel, P, Denson, N, Ovenden, G & Davies, C 2014, Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australians Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne p V

10. Strauss, P., Cook, A., Winter, S., Watson, V., Wright Toussaint, D., Lin, A. (2017). Trans Pathways: the mental health experiences and care pathways of trans young people. Summary of results. Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia.

General statistics

Message: One in seven Australians will experience depression in their lifetime.

Breakdown: 15.0% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder1* This is equivalent to 2.83 million people today. ^

Message: One quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime.

Breakdown: 26.3% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder.2** This is equivalent to 4.96 million people today.

Message: One in 16 Australians is currently experiencing depression.

Breakdown: 6.2% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months.3 This is equivalent to 1.16 million people today.

Message: One in seven Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition.

Breakdown: 14.4% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months.4 This is equivalent to 2.71 million people today.

Message: One in six Australians is currently experiencing depression or anxiety or both.

Breakdown: 17.0% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety and/or affective disorder in the past 12 months.This is equivalent to 3.2 million people today. Note: the percentage of Australians who have lifetime experience of anxiety and/or an affective disorder is unknown.

Message: Support-seeking appears to be growing at a rapid rate, with around half of all people with a condition now getting treatment.

Breakdown: The estimated population treatment rate for mental disorders in Australia increased from 37% in 2006–07 to 46% in 2009–10.6

Message: Females are more likely than males to experience depression and anxiety.

One in six females will experience depression in their lifetime compared to one in eight men. One in three females will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime compared to one in five men

Breakdown: 17.8% of females aged 16 to 85 will experience an affective disorder in their lifetime compared to 12.2% of men. 32.0% of females aged 16 to 85 will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime compared to 20.4% of men.7

One in 14 females is currently experiencing depression compared with one in 19 men. One in six females is currently experiencing an anxiety condition compared to one in nine men.

Breakdown: 7.1% of females aged 16 to 85 experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months compared to 5.3% of men. 17.9% of females aged 16 to 85 experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months compared to 10.8% of men.8

Message: One in nine Australians is currently experiencing high or very high psychological distress.

Breakdown: In 2014-15, around one in nine (11.7%) Australians aged 18 years and over experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, indicative of a probable mental health condition. This was equivalent to 2.1 million people at the time. Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, rates of high or very high psychological distress remained stable across most age groups, with the exception of 18-24 year old women (up from 13.0% to 20.0% respectively).9

* An affective disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: depressive episode, dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder.

** An anxiety disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

^ This figure, and all current population figures in this section, has been calculated by extrapolating the current Australian 16-85 year-old population from 3101.0 ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2016. The population figure, which is 18,868,720, has then been multiplied by the rate in ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008)

References

1. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

2. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

3. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 28

4. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 28

5. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 41

6. Whiteford, H. A., Buckingham, W. J., Harris, M. G., Burgess, P. M., Pirkis, J. E., Barendregt, J. J., & Hall, W. D. (2014).  Estimating treatment rates for mental disorders in Australia. Australian Health Review38, 80–85

7. ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

8.ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 28

9. ABS Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15

Men

Message: Men are at least three times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Breakdown: In the period 2010-2016, males were three times more likely to die by suicide than females. In 2016, 2,151 (75%) people who died by suicide were male and 715 (25%) were female.2

Message: Every day in Australia,  almost six men die by suicide.

Breakdown: The  2151 male suicides in Australia in 2016 is the equivalent of  5.9 every day.

Message: The number of men who die by suicide in Australia is nearly three times the number who die in all types of road accidents combined.

Breakdown: 867 males died in transport accidents in Australia in 20153 which is 37% of the 2,292 who died by suicide.

Message: Death by suicide among Australian males is equivalent to more than 77,581 years of potential life lost.

Breakdown: Men lost 77,581 years of potential life because they died prematurely by suicide in.4

Message: Evidence indicates men are far less likely to seek help for mental health conditions than women.

Breakdown: The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing study found that in the previous year, only 27.5% of males with a mental disorder and recent symptoms had accessed services for their mental health problems compared with 40.7% of females.Estimating treatment rates for mental disorders in Australia, Whiteford et al (2014) indicated that treatment rates had increased significantly in recent years but did not provide a gender breakdown.

Message: One in eight Australian men will experience depression in their lifetime.

Breakdown: 12.2% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder over their lifetime.* This is equivalent to at least 1.15 million males today.^

Message: One in five Australian men will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime.

Breakdown: 20.4% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder over their lifetime.7** This is equivalent to at least 1.93 million males today.

Message: One in seven Australian men experiences depression or anxiety or both in any year.

Breakdown: 13.3% of Australian men aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety and/or affective disorder in the past 12 months.8 This is equivalent to at least 1.26 million Australian men today. Note: the percentage of Australians who have lifetime experience of anxiety and/or an affective disorder is unknown.

Message: Men are less likely than females to experience depression and/or anxiety.

Breakdown: 12.2% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder in their lifetime compared to 17.8% of females. 20.4% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder in their lifetime compared to 32% of females.9

Message: Men are less likely than females to be currently experiencing depression and/or anxiety.

Breakdown: 5.3% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months compared to 7.1% of females. 10.8% of Australian males aged 16 to 85 have experienced an affective disorder in the past 12 months compared to 17.9% of females.10

* An affective disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: depressive episode, dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder.

^ This figure, and all current population figures in this section, has been calculated by extrapolating the current Australian male 16-85 year-old population from 3101.0 ABS Australian Demographic Statistics as of 30 June 2016. The population figure, which is 9,484,939, has then been multiplied by the rate in ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008)

** An anxiety disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

References

1. 3303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2016 (2017). Preliminary data. Suicide (Australia). Table 11.1

2. 3303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2016 (2017). Preliminary data. Suicide (Australia). Table 11.1

3. Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (2016) Road Trauma Australia 2015 statistical summary.

4. 3303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (2016). Preliminary data. Underlying causes of death (Australia)

5. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 44

6. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

7. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

8. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 41

9. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

10. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 28

Older Adults

Message: 10-15% of older adults experience depression, and approximately 10 percent experience anxiety.  1

Message: Rates of depression among people living in residential care are much higher, at around 30 percent.  2

Message: People over the age of 65 hold more stigmatising views about depression than the rest of the population. 3

Message: Age discrimination can negatively impact upon older peoples’ mental health.

25% of people in Australia over the age of 50 have experienced some form of age discrimination and 60% of those stated that it had affected their self-esteem or mental health and/or caused them stress. Women are more likely than men to report that discrimination impacts upon their mental health. 4

Message: Age discrimination can affect mature age workers’ ability to remain in the workforce, jeopardising their financial security and independence.

One third (33%) of people who had been discriminated against gave up looking for work as a result of experiencing age discrimination.5

Message: Older women retire with much lower superannuation balances than men.

89% of women are worried about maintaining their standard of living in retirement.6

Message: Involuntary or unexpected job loss in later life is the form of retirement that has been most consistently linked to increased rates of depression.7

References

1. National Ageing Research Institute. (2009). beyondblue depression in older age: a scoping study. Final Report. Melbourne: National Ageing Research Institute.

2. National Ageing Research Institute. (2009). beyondblue depression in older age: a scoping study. Final Report. Melbourne: National Ageing Research Institute.

3. beyondblue Depression and Anxiety Monitor, 2014 (for internal use only, not for distribution)

4. Australian Human Rights Commission. (2015). National prevalence survey of age discrimination in the workplace

5. Australian Human Rights Commission. (2015). National prevalence survey of age discrimination in the workplace

6. Westpac Women and Retirement Readiness Report. (2015). Accessed 20 January 2016 http://www.mediagame.tv/retirement-tips-for-australian-women-westpac-women-and-retirement-readiness-report/

7. Olesen, S & Butterworth, P. (2012). Retirement: a trigger for distress or welcome relief form the rat race?

Perinatal

Message: A low mood is common for birth mothers following childbirth.

Breakdown: Low mood affects around 50% of new mothers in the first weeks after delivery (so-called baby blues), but this is usually mild and transient.1

Message: 1 in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy.

Australian research indicates up to 1 in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy (antenatal depression).2 Antenatal anxiety is thought to be just as common.

Message: 1 in 6 women will experience postnatal depression.

Australian and other studies have reported the 12-month period prevalence of postnatal depression as one in six (in the first postnatal year/year following the birth of their baby) 3

Message: 1 in 6 women will experience postnatal anxiety

The three-month postnatal period prevalence for any anxiety disorder was reported as one in six in one study while another reported a point prevalence of anxiety disorder of one in five in the third trimester of pregnancy4

Message: 1 in 10 fathers experience postnatal depression.

Research indicates that 1 in 10 fathers experience postnatal depression.51 in 6 fathers experience anxiety during the prenatal period and 1 in 5 during the postnatal period.6 Paternal depression has also been found to show a moderate positive correlation with maternal depression.7

Message: Awareness that men can experience postnatal depression is low.

45% of fathers are not aware that men can experience postnatal depression as well as women; and 43% of first time fathers see anxiety and depression after having a baby as a sign of weakness.8

References

1. Howard LM, Molyneaux E, Dennis CL, Rochat T, Stein A, Milgrom J. (2014). Non-psychotic mental disorders in the perinatal period. The Lancet, 21;384(9956):1775-88.

2. Buist A, Bilszta J, Milgrom J, Condon J, Speelman C, Hayes B, Barnett B, Ellwood D. (2006). The beyondblue National Postnatal Depression Program, Prevention and Early Intervention 2001–2005, Final Report. Volume 1: National Screening Program. Melbourne: beyondblue - The National Depression Initiative.

3. Austin M-P, Highet N and the Expert Working Group (2017) Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline. Melbourne: Centre of Perinatal Excellence.

4 .Austin M-P, Highet N and the Expert Working Group (2017) Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline. Melbourne: Centre of Perinatal Excellence.

5. Paulson JF, Bazemore SD. (2010), Prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers and its association with maternal depression: a meta-analysis. Jama. May 19;303(19):1961-9.

6. Austin M-P, Highet N and the Expert Working Group (2017) Mental Health Care in the Perinatal Period: Australian Clinical Practice Guideline. Melbourne: Centre of Perinatal Excellence.

7. Paulson JF, Bazemore SD. (2010), Prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers and its association with maternal depression: a meta-analysis. Jama. May 19;303(19):1961-9.

8. beyondblue Healthy Dads? The challenge of being a new father, 2015.

Regional and rural Australia

Message: Remoteness is a major risk factor contributing to suicide and the likelihood that someone will die by suicide appears to increase the further away from a city they live.

Breakdown: Data from 2010-2014 shows that, out of five zones of residence, residents of Major cities had the lowest rate of suicide deaths per 100,000 people while residents of the Very remote zone had the highest rate every year1. During this period Major cities had a suicide rate of 9.8 per 100,000 people, residents in inner regional areas had a rate of 13.1, outer regional residents had a rate of 14.3, and remote residents had a rate of 19.2 per 100,000, and very remote residents had a rate of 23.7. 2

Message: Young people who live outside capital cities appear to be particularly at risk of suicide.

Breakdown: Young people outside capital cities are significantly more at risk of dying by suicide than their peers in capital cities. In 2010, 5.9 per 100,000 15-19 year-olds in capital cities died by suicide compared to 10.3 per 100,000 outside capitals. The same year, the suicide rate was 9.0 per 100,000 for 20-24 year-olds in capital cities compared to 16.5 for their peers outside capitals. 3

Message: People in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia face more barriers to accessing health care than people living in major cities, making it harder for them to maintain good mental health.

Breakdown: In 2016-17, 20.5% of people in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment with a GP, compared to 17.8% in major cities. People in inner regional and those in outer regional, remote or very remote areas were less likely to be seen by a GP within four hours the last time that they needed urgent care (65% compared to 60% and 54% respectively) and more likely to delay seeing a GP because of cost (4.6% compared to 3.9%).4

References

1. See http://www.atlasesaustralia.com.au/ahpc/remoteness_graph/deaths-suicides.html

2. See http://www.atlasesaustralia.com.au/ahpc/remoteness_graph/deaths-suicides.html

3. 3309.0 ABS Suicides, Australia, 2010 (2012). Suicide and Geography, Australia, 2001-2010. Table 4.3

4. 4839.0 ABS Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2016-17 (2017) Table 6.2

Suicide and self-harm

Message: Suicide is a major public health issue that kills more than 3,000 Australians in a typical year.

Breakdown: A total of 3,128 people took their own lives in Australia in 2017, representing an increase of 9.1 per cent over the previous year. The 2017 rate of 12.6 deaths per 100,000 was equal to 2015 with the highest recorded rate in the past 10 years. A rate of 10.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 was reported in 2008.

Message: More than eight people die each day in Australia by suicide

Breakdown: 3,128 people taking their own lives in Australia in 2017, equates to 8.6 deaths a day. On average, a person who died by suicide in 2017 lost 34.5 years from their life.

Message: Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women

Breakdown: Three times as many men as women took their lives in 2017. There were 2,348 suicide deaths among males (a rate of 19.1 deaths per 100,000) compared to 780 female deaths (a rate of 6.2 deaths per 100,000).

Message: The largest increase in suicide deaths were recorded in QLD and NSW

Breakdown: QLD reported the largest increase with 804 deaths last year compared with 674 in 2016. ACT recorded an increase with 58 suicide deaths. New South Wales and Western Australia also recorded increases in deaths due to suicide. Slight decreases in suicides rates were recorded for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Message: Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44

Breakdown: In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-44 years, and the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age. Those aged 45-49 showed the highest age-specific death rate for suicide in 2017, as well as the highest rate increase from 2016. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under the age of 45 years.

Message: There was a 10 per cent increase in the number of deaths by suicide among children between five and 17

Breakdown: There was a 10 per cent increase in the number of deaths among children between five and 17 since 2016. Suicide remains the leading cause of death in this age group, with 98 deaths in 2017.

Message: In 2017 suicide was a leading cause of premature mortality in Australia

Breakdown: Suicide accounts for a high proportion of deaths among younger people. Suicide accounted for over one-third of deaths (36 per cent) among people aged 15-24 years of age, and over a quarter of deaths (30.9 per cent) among those aged 25-34 years. There were 108,081 years of life lost to intentional self-harm in 2017 (see explanatory notes 40-43). On average, a person who died by suicide in 2017 lost 34.5 years from their life.

Message: The highest suicide rate among men is in the age group 85 and over. For females it is women aged 45 to 49

Breakdown: The highest suicide rate among men was those aged 85 years and older, with 32.8 deaths per 100,000 people. For females, the highest rate of suicide was in the 45-49 age group, while the over 85-year age group had the lowest rate in sharp contrast to males. Excluding males aged 85 years and over, the age-specific deaths rates were the highest in middle-aged males aged between 40-44 years and 45-49 years, both greater than 30 deaths per 100,000 males.

Suicide accounted for 19.5 per cent of all male deaths for 40-44 years and 14.0 per cent of all male deaths for 45-49 years. The age-specific suicide rate for males was lowest in the 15-19 year age group (13.9 deaths per 100,000 males), yet suicide accounted for 36.4 per cent of all deaths in that age group.

Message: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to die by suicide

Breakdown: In 2017, 165 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons died as a result of suicide, with a standardised death rate of 25.5 deaths per 100,000 persons. This represents a slight increase from 2016, where there were 162 suicide deaths and a standardised death rate of 25.1.

Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males typically represent the vast majority of Indigenous suicide deaths and this trend continued in 2017, with 75.8 per cent of all Indigenous suicide deaths attributed to males.

In 2017, suicide remained the leading cause of death for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children and young people, accounting for 40 per cent of all Indigenous child deaths. Those aged 15-17 contributed to 94.4 per cent of all suicide deaths in young Indigenous people. When considering gender differences, 91.6 per cent of Indigenous male youth suicides were aged 15-17.

The age-specific death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people was 10.1 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to 2.0 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous persons. 

Message: In 2017, the ABS released data relating to comorbidities, with 80% of suicide deaths having comorbidities mentioned as co-occurring factors.

Breakdown: Mood disorders (including depression) were the most common comorbid factor associated with suicide, reported in 43 per cent of all suicides, followed by drug and alcohol use disorders (29.5 per cent). Anxiety was associated with 17.5 per cent of suicide deaths. Alcohol and other drugs were found in the blood at the time of death in 14.9 per cent of suicide deaths.

 

References

[1] 3303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2017 (2018). Preliminary data. Suicide (Australia). 

Women

Message: More women than men experience high or very high levels of psychological distress.

In 2014-15, more women than men experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress (13.5% and 9.9% respectively). Women aged 18-24 years had the highest rate of psychological distress of any age group or sex in 2014-15.1

Message: One in eight women report experiencing an anxiety-related condition.

In 2014-15, around one in eight females (13.0%) reported having an anxiety-related condition.2

Message: Women report higher rates of depression or feelings of depression than men.3

Message: The number of suicides by young women aged 14-25 years now exceeds that of young men.

The increasing trend of suicide is particularly evident for young women, with the number of suicides within this age group now exceeding that of young men.4

References

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey First Results – Australia 2014-15. Canberra: ABS.

2.  Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey First Results – Australia 2014-15. Canberra: ABS.

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey First Results – Australia 2014-15. Canberra: ABS.

4.Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Causes of Death, Australia, 2014. Catalogue No. 3303.0.Canberra: ABS. Accessed 2 March 2015 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3303.0?OpenDocument

Workplace

Message: Ninety-one per cent of employees believe mental health in the workplace is important. However, only 52 percent of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy.

Breakdown: The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report surveyed 1,041 employees (a mix of lower management and other employees) and found that although 91 percent of employees believe mental health in the workplace is important (88% believe physical safety is important). However, only 52 percent of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy.1

Message: Businesses receive an average return on investment of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies, making investing in mental health a win-win situation for employers and employees.

Breakdown: A 2014 PwC report found that for every $1 employers spend on successfully implementing effective actions around mental health in the workplace, they gain an average of $2.30 in benefits. These benefits are through improved productivity, via reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, and fewer compensation claims.2

Message: Almost fifty per cent of employees have left a workplace due to a poor mental health environment, while 60% of employees working in a mentally healthy workplace were more committed to their job.

Breakdown: A study undertaken by Instinct and Reason of 1,025 employees found that almost half those surveyed (45%) have left a workplace because it had a poor environment in terms of mental health. Conversely, the study found that a mentally healthy workplace makes an employee more committed to their job (60% of those currently in such a workplace) and less likely to seek other employment (68%).3

Message: Seventy-one percent organisational leaders believe leaders are committed to promoting the mental health of staff, but only 37 per cent of employees believe that this is the case.

Breakdown: The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report surveyed 85 senior leaders and 1,041 employees (a mix of lower management and other employees) and found that 71 per cent organisational leaders believe leaders are committed to promoting the mental health of staff, but only 37 per cent of employees believe that organisational leaders are committed to promoting the mental health of staff.4

Message: Eighty one per cent of organisational leaders indicate their workplace has mental health support for their employees, but more than one third (35%) of employees don’t know they exist or have access to them.

Breakdown: The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report surveyed 1,126 employees (a mix of lower management and other employees) and senior leaders (CEO/Managing Directors or HR Managers) and found that 81% of organisational leaders indicated that their workplace has one or more policies, procedures or practices to support mental health, but many (35%) employees don’t know these resources exist or don’t have access to them.5

Message:  One in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.

Breakdown: The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report surveyed 1,041 employees (a mix of lower management and other employees) and found one in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. This statistic is more than twice as high (46%) among those who consider their workplace mentally unhealthy.6

Message: Thirty-five percent of employees state they would not want anyone to know about their experience of depression or anxiety.

Breakdown: The State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report surveyed 1,041 employees (a mix of lower management and other employees) and found a reluctance among employees general to disclose their experience of depression or anxiety to employers. Thirty-five per of employees state they would not want anyone to know.7

Message: About one in 10 Australian workers has been bullied in the last six months.

Breakdown: A 2016 Safe Work Australia report found that 9.7% of respondents had experienced bulling in the last six months.8

Message:  The median workers’ compensation payment for mental health-related claims was $24,500 compared to $9,200 across all claim types between the 2008 and 2015 financial years.9

Breakdown: Safe Work Australia statistics show the median workers’ compensation payment for mental health-related claims was $23,600 compared to $8,700 across all claim types over the five years between 2008-09 and 2012-13. The figures also show that mental health-related claims resulted in 14.8 weeks off work, compared with 5.3 weeks for all claim types.

References

1. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8

 2. PwC (2014) Creating a mentally healthy workplace. Return on investment analysis p iv. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/beyondblue_workplaceroi_finalreport_may-2014.pdf

3. Instinct and Reason (2014). Employer of Choice Study. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/instinct_and_reason_employer_of_choice.pdf?sfvrsn=4

4. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8

5.TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8               

6. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8

7. TNS (2014). State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia. From https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl1270-report---tns-the-state-of-mental-health-in-australian-workplaces-hr.pdf?sfvrsn=8

8. Dollard, Prof Maureen et al (2015) The Australian Workplace Barometer: Report on psychosocial safety climate and worker health in Australia  (Safe Work Australia) p. 60. From https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1705/bullying-and-harassment-in-australian-workplaces-australian-workplace-barometer-results.pdf

9. Safe Work Australia (2015). From https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1702/work-related-mental-disorders-profile.pdf

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