Mental Health Concerns Affect Two in Five Australians: ABS Study Reveals

A comprehensive study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has uncovered that over two in five Australians, accounting for 42.9% of the population aged 16–85 years, have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime. The study, spanning 2020–2022 and involving nearly 16,000 participants, sheds light on the mental health landscape in the community.

Linda Fardell, ABS head of health statistics, stated, “Anxiety emerged as the most prevalent category of mental disorders during 2020–2022, affecting more than one in six Australians (17.2%) in the preceding 12 months, encompassing conditions such as social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The study highlighted that 7.5% of individuals experienced affective disorders, including depression, while 3.3% grappled with substance use disorders.

Startlingly, around 1.1 million young adults (38.8%) aged 16–24 faced a mental disorder in the last 12 months. Among them, 45.5% of young females and 32.4% of young males reported mental health challenges, predominantly anxiety disorders.

Furthermore, the study revealed that almost three in five individuals (58.7%) identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, or using different terms to describe their sexual orientation, encountered a mental disorder in the preceding year. In contrast, 19.9% of those identifying as heterosexual reported a mental disorder.

The report provides insights into mental health management strategies, indicating that nearly a quarter of Australians aged 16–34 (22.9%) sought consultation with health professionals for mental health concerns in the last year. Additionally, 8.2% accessed various mental health services, including treatment programs, crisis support, counseling, support groups, and online chat rooms.

Linda Fardell emphasized, “Almost half of individuals with a mental disorder in the previous 12 months (45.1%) sought assistance from health professionals, and one in seven (14.3%) accessed other services.”

The ABS expressed gratitude to study participants for their contributions, and the full findings are available for download on the ABS website.

For those in need of assistance or support, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) are available resources.