Mental Health in Australia-2
About 45% of Australians experience a mental illness at some point in their life. Meanwhile, about 20% of that number experience one mental illness, 11.5% are diagnosed with a disorder and 8.5% are diagnosed with two or more disorders in a single year. Women are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with a mental illness. In addition, about 30% of children have experienced two or more mental illnesses in 2020. As such, mental health in Australia remains a serious problem.

The most common illnesses among adults are depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. Moreover, ADHD, anxiety, depression and conduct disorders are most prevalent in children. Additionally, more chronic disorders are quite common. People who struggle with mental health commonly face discrimination. Consequently, one in 10 people dies by suicide. Thankfully, mental health in Australia has undergone recent changes with new health programs, pharmacology and treatments.

Organizations Helping Australia

Funded research is crucial to reduce the mental health crisis in Australia. The Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission provided $125 million over 10 years since 2018. This will help Australians access new approaches to preventative treatment measures.

The initiative KidsMatter receives funding from the Australian government and Beyond Blue. It targets mental health in children at preschools and kindergartens. Likewise, The Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network combat mental health by bringing young Australians together.

COVID-19 has not improved mental health in Australia. Programs like Beyond Blue and LifeLine Australia provide a wide array of effective services such as 24/7 suicidal hotlines. In addition, the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners Initiative helps patients attain mental health aid through Medicare.

 Poverty and Mental Health

Unsurprisingly, poverty correlates with mental illness and stress. Australia has the 16th highest poverty rate out of the 35 wealthiest countries in The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). People who have lost jobs and live in impoverished areas are most likely to suffer from psychological stress. A recent study found one in four people experience mental stress in destitute homes, while only one in 20 does in more wealthy homes.

 As a result, the WHO Mental Health Action Plan of 2013-2020 has helped initiate global health coverage and social care services for all citizens and communities. Additionally, the Australian Council of Social Service seeks to reduce poverty by creating policy and reform through the government to the communities. Reducing poverty contributes to reducing mental health as well.

Aid is within reach for any individual struggling psychologically. In addition to governmental reform, many nonprofits aim to help those with mental illness. As mental health in Australia rises, professional treatment rises as well. Yet, only half of Australians seek this treatment. This is due to the discrimination and stigma of mental health. Although the mental health crisis is far from over, significant improvements in Australia have occurred.

– Shelby Gruber
Photo: Flickr