26 September 2023

ABS stats find mental disorders growing

Start the conversation

More than two in five Australians have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime, according to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Head of health and disability statistics at the ABS, Linda Fardell said the new National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing painted a comprehensive picture of mental disorders in the community, and gave a snapshot of wellbeing.

“At the national level, the Study shows that 43.7 per cent (8.6 million) of Australians aged between 16 and 85 have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life,” Ms Fardell said.

“In 2020-21, one in five people (21.4 per cent) experienced a mental disorder,” she said.

“Anxiety was the most common group of mental disorders; 16.8 per cent of all Australians had an anxiety disorder, 7.5 per cent had an affective disorder such as depression, while 3.3 per cent had a substance use disorder.”

Ms Fardell said the Study found that around 1.1 million (39.6 per cent) of young adults aged 16-24 years experienced a mental disorder during the last financial year.

She said the Study also gave insights into the actions people took to manage their mental health.

“Some 17.5 per cent (3.4 million) of Australians had at least one consultation with a health professional for their mental health in 2020-21,” she said.

“General practitioners were the most common type of health professional consulted.”

Ms Fardell said almost half (47.1 per cent) of the people who experienced a mental disorder had at least one consultation with a health professional for their mental health.

“In addition to these consultations, 4.4 per cent (or 864,100) of Australians accessed at least one digital service for their mental health, such as crisis support or counselling services and online treatment programs or tools.”

She said results from the second cohort (2021-22) of the Study would be published in 2023, along with results from a combined sample.

The ABS’ Study can be accessed online at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.