Australia and New Zealand’s Mental Health
Looking at some of the headline statistics from a national Mental Health study immediately highlights the real issues going on in our community – if not directly for you right now, more than likely someone you know or care for is suffering some form of mental health issue. There are often a wide range of factors involved such as stress, whether at work or at home, social isolation or lack of contact with family and friends, along with any number of relational or psychological contributors. Being aware of the signs and cues within yourself, or those around you, will help you to address issues sensitively and appropriately, and reduce the severity of the situation.
Here are a few of the key findings in the research
About half of all Australians and New Zealanders experience a mental disorder at some stage in their lifetime. Since relatively many more men than women meet the criteria for a substance use disorder (often alcohol-related) at some stage, men were more likely than women to have had a mental disorder in their lifetime.
Generally, 14% of people are currently experiencing an anxiety condition, however women have a higher prevalence of anxiety disorders across all age groups. Anxiety disorders generally involve feelings of tension, distress or nervousness. Specific anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, agoraphobia and generalised anxiety disorder have some symptoms in common such as a pounding heart, sweating, trembling, shaking and having difficulty breathing.
Mood disorders (also known as affective disorders), such as depression, dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder, affect about 1 in 12 people aged 16−85 at any given time. Depression and dysthymia may involve signs such as a depressed mood, loss of self-confidence and esteem, feelings of helplessness and reduced energy or activity over a period of at least two weeks.
The harmful use of alcohol and other drugs is an issue that has many negative effects for individuals, their families and friends, and the wider community. Substance use disorders involving harmful use of, or dependency on, alcohol or other drugs were slightly less prevalent than other types of mental disorders, affecting 5.1% of people aged 16−85 years.
Substance use disorders were more common in men (7.0%) than in women (3.3%). Substance use disorders were more likely for those aged 16−24 years (13%) than for other age groups, and were the most prevalent disorders for males of this age (15%).
The issue of perinatal depression and anxiety is also significant with 1 in 6 women on average suffering from postnatal depression and postntal anxiety. Many new fathers also experience postnatal depression (1 in 10), however only 57% of men are aware that it is experienced in men as well as women. Interestingly, paternal depression positively correlates with maternal depression.
If you or anyone you know is suffering with a mental health disorder and not getting support, talk to us at HBP Group or contact your EAP or an organisation such as Beyond Blue or Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand today.
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
- Depression & Anxiety Helpline: 0800 111 757
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