Rates of anxiety and depression are increasing significantly among Australians.

Mental Health problems are on the rise among Australians. According to a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there are higher levels of mental distress in Australia. Rates of anxiety and depression continue to creep upwards, especially now. That’s because of widespread bushfires followed by COVID-19.

Drawing on the ABS’ past National Health Survey (2017-18), the increasing rates of mental illness are as follows:

  • High level of psychological distress among adults (11.7% in 2014-15 to 13% in 2017-18)
  • Increase in behavioral conditions (17.5% in 2014-15 to 20.1% in 2017-18)
  • Rise in anxiety-related conditions (11.2% in 2014–15 to 13.1% in 2017-18)
  • Increase in the number of people who had depression (8.9% in 2014–15 to 10.4% in 2017-18)

Behind the rise

In Australia, the rise in the number of mental health issues is because of a mix of social and biological factors. It can also be explained by an increase in ‘risk factors’ like social disconnection as well as weaker “protective factors” such as relationships and healthy lifestyles.

Other health risk factors associated with mental illness include:

  • Smoking
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of physical activity

In a nutshell, the survey shows the alarming rates of mental health problems. But beyond the numbers, paying attention to mental illnesses among Australians remains urgent.

What Exactly is a Mental Illness

It is an illness of the brain, often causing disturbances in a person’s thinking, behavior, or emotion that makes it difficult for them to cope with the ordinary demands of life. The causes of mental illness can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma, and/or underlying health issues such as heart disease.

There are two most common mental health conditions:

  1. Anxiety Disorders

18% of adults struggle with some type of mental disorder every year. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, anxiety and phobias.

  1. Mood Disorders

This type of disorder is characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood.  Altogether, they affect nearly 10% of adults every year.

What Can We Do To Help

No one is immune from the possibility of suffering from mental health problems. Although the more we learn about mental health, the better we can help and support people who struggle with mental illnesses.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training

Mental Health First Aid Course is internationally recognised. In Australia, we conduct these courses in Adelaide, Salisbury, Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Darwin, Launceston and Dandenong.

This course will give you all the practical skills and knowledge you need to step in and help in a mental health emergency. Talk to us today and learn more about Mental Health First Aid.