Health Inequalities Mental Illness

Dear Minister of Health,

I would like to draw attention to the implications of Australia’s mental health, and implore the government to allocate more funding due to the serious and potential impact of mental illness on not only the individual that is affected but the people around them.

How this condition has contributed significantly to the burden on Australians

Prevalence of the Condition

From the results of the 2007 survey, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), one in five Australians aged 16-85 experienced one of the common mental illnesses such as anxiety, mood and substance use disorders, within the last 12 months. This graph shows areas which need to be addressed in particular anxiety and other 12-month disorders.

Prevalence rates of mental illness vary across lifespan but from the graph taken from the 2007 ABS survey, the prevalence of mental illness for young adults in the 16-24 age range (26%) is one third higher than the average for the overall adult population. Similar results are shown in the 1997 ABS survey, which highlights the need for early intervention services that target younger Australians.

However, mental illness also includes low prevalence conditions such as eating disorders and severe personality disorders.   In addition to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychoses were not counted in the 1997 or 2007 ABS survey but are speculated to affect an additional 2-3% of the adult population.

From the ABS survey, the graph shows the major disorders and it is clearly shown that anxiety has the highest prevalence with the highest rate in 35-44 year age group. Of the 2.5 million people aged 16-24 years that were in the survey, 13% had a 12-month substance disorder. Due to a general prevalence in anxiety orders amongst ages 16-54, this graph highlights the need for early intervention.

Mental illness is shown in this graph to significantly appear in people who have a disability. It’s clear that a vast...