Every day, at least six Australians die from suicide and a further thirty people will attempt to take their own life.
Mental illness is very common. One in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. Mental illnesses can affect people’s thoughts, mood, behaviour or the way they perceive the world around them. A mental illness causes distress and affects the person’s ability to function at work, in relationships or in everyday tasks. Mental illness can attract stigma and discrimination, which can be two of the biggest problems for a person with these disorders.
There are many different types of mental illnesses and the most common are depression, anxiety and substance use disorder. Of the Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. The onset of mental illness is typically around mid-to-late adolescence with Australian youth (18-24 years old) having the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group.
Although mental illness is treatable, 54% of people do not access any treatment. This is worsened by delayed treatment due to serious problems in detection and accurate diagnosis. The ratio of people with mental illness accessing treatment is half that of people with physical disorders.
Access to treatment is essential as approximately 75% of people admitted to public sector mental health inpatient services improve notably. In particular, primary mental health care services are central in addressing signs of mental illness in children and young people with appropriate treatment providing both immediate and long term positive outcomes.
If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help
- beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
- Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) — online help.
- Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467.