Statistics

Beyond Blue 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: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide1.

Breakdown: In 2018, 169 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died as a result of suicide. The five year trend to 2018 shows that the rate of suicide by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (23.7 death per 100,000 people) is nearly twice that of non-Indigenous people (12.3 deaths per 100,000 people). In 2018, the median age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths was 31.8 years of age for males and 26.0 years of age for females.

In 2018, suicide remained the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. The age-specific death rate was 8.3 deaths per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, compared to 2.1 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous children.

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

Breakdown: About a third (31.7%) 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: 33% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have experienced verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months in 2018 compared to 37% in 2016,3 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. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019). Causes of Death, Australia, 2018: Intentional self-harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Catalogue No. 3303. Retrieved 26 September 2019

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. Darryl Nelson (2019). 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer. Polity Research & Consulting. New South Wales.

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 suggests that the majority of mental health research does not adequately include immigrant and refugee samples and more research is required to make conclusions about prevalence of mental health conditions in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities.2

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

Breakdown: 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.

Breakdown: 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.A significant number of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds do not seek support for mental health conditions or are reluctant to do so, including carers. Often, they miss out on suicide prevention services because information is not available in community languages, or there is no culturally appropriate service available. They may also find it difficult to use mainstream services because of language and cultural barriers. They may be confused about how services operate, or simply be unaware of the range of services and supports that are available.5

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

Breakdown: The process of settlement and acculturation can be a time of significant stress for both migrants and refugees. Common sources of stress include learning a new language, finding employment and housing, navigating unfamiliar health and education services, and adjusting to changing family relationships. For people of refugee background, these stresses may be compounded by having endured traumatic events, such as experiencing or witnessing harm, death or threats to others; family separation; time spent in detention and refugee camps; and long periods of limited access to basic needs such as food, water, shelter and safety.For people of migrant and refugee background, settlement and acculturative experiences can increase the risk of physical and mental health difficulties. For instance, a meta-analysis of 35 studies reported prevalence estimates for depression and anxiety of approximately 20% among migrants and 40% among refugees.7,8

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

Breakdown: Face Up to Racism: 2015-16 National Survey, an online survey of 6001 participants found that most Australians recognise that racism exists within Australia (79.3%). 34.8 per cent of participants had experienced racism on public transport or in the street. 32.8 per cent of participants had experienced racism in the work place. 32.8 per cent of participants had experienced within an educational institution.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.10

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

Breakdown: Other research through (Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia) 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.11 

Message: There are known Protective Factors for mental health of immigrants and refugees

Breakdown: Factors know to improve mental health for immigrants and refugees are increased English speaking skills, better social support and being free to practise religious beliefs. Community belonging plays a key role in positive mental wellbeing.12

References

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

2. Minas H, et al., 2013. Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia: Developing a Culture of Inclusion. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 7 (23), p.13. 

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

4. Khawaja N, McCarthy R, Vivienne B, Dunne M P, 2013. Characteristics of culturally and linguistically diverse mental health clients. Advances in Mental Health, 11(2), pp. 169-184.

5. Commonwealth of Australia (2007). Suicide prevention and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Department of Health and Ageing. Canberra. Available online: <http://www.mhima.org.au/pdfs/LIFE-Fact%20sheet%2020.pdf>

6. Giallo R, Riggs E, Lynch C, et al, 2017. The physical and mental health problems of refugee and migrant fathers: findings from an Australian population-based study of children and their families BMJ Open, 7 (11).

7. Silove D, Steel Z, Bauman A, et al., 2007. Trauma, PTSD and the longer-term mental health burden amongst Vietnamese refugees: a comparison with the Australian-born population. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiol, 42 (6), pp. 467-76.

8. Vaage AB, Thomsen PH, Silove D, et al., 2010. Long-term mental health of Vietnamese refugees in the aftermath of trauma. Br J Psychiatry, 196 (2), pp. 122–5.

9. Blair K, Dunn K, Kamp A, & Alam O, 2017. Challenging Racism Project 2015-16 National Survey Report. Sydney: Western Sydney University. Available at <https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/1201203/OMAC1694_Challenging_Racism_Report_4_-_FINAL.pdf>

10. Ferdinand A, Paradies Y, Kelaher M, 2015. Mental Health Impacts of Racial Discrimination in Australian Culturally and Linguistically Divers Communities: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 15 (401), p.12.

11. Minas H, et al., 2013. Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia: Developing a Culture of Inclusion. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 7 (23), p. 8.

12. Minas H, et al., 2013. Mental Health Research and Evaluation in Multicultural Australia: Developing a Culture of Inclusion. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 7 (23), p.13. 

Children/Youth

Message: Half of all the mental health conditions we experience at some point in our lives will have started by age 141

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 continues to be the leading cause of death for young Australians 11.

In 2018, suicide accounted for over one-third of deaths (38.4 per cent) among people aged 15-24 years and over a quarter of deaths (29.4 per cent) among those aged 25-34 years. Suicide remains the leading cause of death of children between 5 and 17 years, with 100 deaths occurring in this age group, at a rate of 2.5 deaths per 100,000 children. On average, a person who died by suicide in 2018 lost 36.7 years from their life.

Message: The rate of suicide among Indigenous young people is significantly higher than among non-Indigenous young people12.

Over the five years from 2014 to 2018, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children accounted for close to a quarter of all child suicide deaths (23.8 per cent). The age-specific death rate was 8.3 deaths per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, compared to 2.1 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous children.

Like for the non-Indigenous population, in 2018, suicide remained the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, accounting for 26.5 per cent of all Indigenous child deaths. Children aged 15-17 accounted for 69.2 per cent of all child suicides, with females accounting for more than half (61.5 per cent) of child suicide deaths.

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 (2019). Causes of Death, Australia, 2018: Intentional self-harm, key characteristics, cat. no. 3303.0. Retrieved 26 September 2019.

12. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019). Causes of Death, Australia, 2018: Intentional self-harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Catalogue No. 3303. Retrieved 26 September 2019.

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 14.5.1

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.2

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.3

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 18.8.4

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.5 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.6 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.7 

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.8

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.9 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%).10

^ 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 eight Australians is currently experiencing high or very high psychological distress.

Breakdown: In 2017-18, around one in eight (13.0% or 2.4 million) Australians aged 18 years and over experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, an increase from 2014-15 (11.7%). Between 2014-15 and 2017-18, rates of high or very high psychological distress remained reasonably stable across most age groups, with the exception of an increase in 55-64-year-old women (from 12.3% to 16.9% 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. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). National Health Survey: First Results 2017-18. Canberra: ABS 

Men

Message: In Australia, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.1

Breakdown:In 2018, the rate of suicide in males was three times higher than females. Of the 3,046 suicide deaths across Australia in 2018, 76 per cent occurred in males (2,320) and 24 per cent occurred in females (726). This proportion was also reflected in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, where males accounted for 76.3 per cent of all Indigenous suicide deaths.

Message: Every day in Australia, approximately six men die by suicide.1

Breakdown: In 2018, an average of 6.3 men died by suicide every day across Australia.

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 females2. 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 lifetime3. * 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 lifetime4.** 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 months5. 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 females6.

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.7.

* 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. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2019). Causes of Death, Australia, 2018: Intentional self-harm, key characteristics, cat. no. 3303.0. Retrieved 26 September 2019.

2. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 44

3. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

4. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

5. 4326.0 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 41

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 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 people in Australia in a typical year1.

Breakdown: A total of 3,046 people took their own lives in Australia in 2018, at a rate of 12.1 deaths per 100,000. This represents a decrease of 2.5 per cent over the previous year.

Message: More than eight people die each day in Australia by suicide1.

Breakdown: A suicide rate of 12.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2018 equates to 8.3 deaths a day.

Message: Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women1.

Breakdown: Three times as many men as women took their lives in 2018. There were 2,320 suicide deaths among males (a rate of 18.6 deaths per 100,000) compared to 726 female deaths (a rate of 5.8 deaths per 100,000).

Message: Suicide rates vary across states and territories1.

Breakdown:

  • New South Wales recorded 899 deaths (11.1 per 100,000), a slight increase from 880 in 2017 (10.9 per 100,000)
  • Victoria recorded 593 deaths in 2018 (9.1 per 100,000) compared to 621 deaths in 2017 (9.6 per 100,000). This was largest recorded decrease in suicide deaths. However, due to changes in the registration system for coronial deaths in Victoria over the reporting year, this may be subject to change – see Explanatory note 111 to the release here
  • Western Australia recorded 383 deaths in 2018 (14.7 per 100,000), down from 409 deaths in 2017 (15.8 per 100,000)
  • Queensland recorded 786 deaths in 2018 (15.8 per 100,000), down from 804 deaths in 2017 (16.3 in 100,000)
  • ACT recorded 47 deaths in 2018 (11.0 per 100,000), down from 58 deaths in 2017 (14.1 per 100,000)
  • Northern Territory recorded 47 deaths in 2018 (19.5 per 100,000), down from 51 deaths in 2017 (20.3 per 100,000)
  • Tasmania recorded 78 deaths in 2018 (14.5 per 100,000), down from 80 in 2017 (15.6 per 100,000)
  • South Australia recorded 212 deaths in 2018 (12.0 per 100,000), down from 224 in 2017 (12.8 per 100,000)

Message: Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 441

Breakdown: In 2018, 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. More than half of all suicide deaths in 2018 (54.8 per cent) occurred between the ages 30 and 59. The median age at death for suicide was 44.4 years of age, compared to 81.7 years of age for all deaths.

Message: Suicide is a significant cause of premature death in Australia1

Breakdown: Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 15-44 and the second leading cause of death for those aged between 45-54. It represents a high proportion of deaths among younger people, accounting for over one-third of deaths (38.4 per cent) among those aged 15-24 years and over a quarter of deaths (29.4 per cent) among those aged 25-34 years. The median age at death for suicide was 44.4 years of age, compared to 81.7 years of age for all deaths.

On average, a person who died by suicide in 2018 lost 36.7 years from their life. Overall, suicide was estimated to account for 105,730 years of life lost.

Message: The highest suicide rate among men is in the age group 85 and over. For women it is those aged 40 to 441

Breakdown: The highest suicide rate among men was those aged 85 years and older (32.9 deaths per 100,000 people), in part reflecting a smaller underlying population in this age cohort. Males aged 85 and over accounted for 2.7 per cent of male suicide deaths, while males aged 45-49 (the second highest age-specific rate) accounted for 9.9 per cent.

For females, the highest rate of suicide was in the 40-44 age group, while the 70-79 age group had the lowest rate.

Message: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide2

Breakdown: In 2018, 169 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died as a result of suicide. The five year trend to 2018 shows that the rate of suicide by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (23.7 death per 100,000 people) is nearly twice that of non-Indigenous people (12.3 deaths per 100,000 people). In 2018, the median age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths was 31.8 years of age for males and 26.0 years of age for females.

Consistent with the proportion of male-to female deaths in the whole population, deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males typically represent the vast majority of Indigenous suicide deaths, with 76.3 per cent of all Indigenous suicide deaths in 2018 accounted for by males.

 

Women

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

In 2017-18, more women than men experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress (14.5% and 11.3% respectively). Women aged 18-24 years had the highest rate of psychological distress of any age group or sex in 2017-18.1

Message: At least one in seven women report experiencing an anxiety-related condition.

In 2017-18, around one in seven women (15.7%) reported having an anxiety-related condition.2

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

In 2017-18, more women than men reported rates of depression or feelings of depression (11.6% compared with 9.1% respectively).3

References

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). National Health Survey: First Results – Australia 2017-18. Canberra: ABS.

2.  Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). National Health Survey: First Results – Australia 2017-18. Canberra: ABS.

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). National Health Survey: First Results – Australia 2017-18. Canberra: ABS.

 

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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