42.9 % of Australians affected by mental disorders – ABS

Mental Health
Mental Health

Two in every five Australians have experienced a mental disorder, according to the National Statistics Agency.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday published the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, revealing that 42.9 per cent of Australians aged 16 to 85, or 8.5 million people, have experienced a mental health condition in their lifetime.

Of almost 16,000 people who were surveyed for the study between 2020 and 2022, 21.5 per cent reported experiencing a mental disorder in the previous 12 months.

Among respondents aged 16 to 24, 38.8 per cent experienced a mental disorder in the 12 months before being surveyed.

“Almost half of the young females (45.5 per cent) and one-third of young males (32.4 per cent) aged 16-24 years had a mental disorder in this period, with anxiety disorders being the most common,” Linda Fardell, head of health statistics at the ABS, said in a statement.

“Anxiety was the most common group of mental disorders in 2020-2022. More than one in six Australians (17.2 per cent) had an anxiety disorder such as a social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder in the previous 12 months.

“7.5 per cent of people had an affective disorder such as depression, while 3.3 per cent had a substance use disorder.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental disorders as health conditions that involve a disturbance in a person’s cognition, behaviour or emotional regulation and estimated that 970 million people globally were living with a mental disorder in 2019.

The ABS found that 45.1 per cent of Australians who had a disorder in the 12 months before being surveyed for the report saw a health professional for their mental health, with females more likely to consult a professional than males.

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