More than two in five Australians suffer from mental health problems, according to ABS study

A groundbreaking new study has found that more than two in five Australians have experienced a mental health problem in their lifetime.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a study among people aged 16 to 85 to provide a complete picture of the nation’s mental well-being.

ABS is conducting the study for the first time in more than a decade.

The bureau collected data from people about their experiences with suicide, self-harm and overeating.

It found that one in six Australians had experienced suicidal thoughts or behavior, and nearly two and five people were close to someone who had died or attempted suicide.

At the height of the pandemic, one in five people suffered from a mental disorder.

In 2020-2021, around 3.4 million Australians had at least one consultation with a doctor about their mental health.

Nearly 40 percent of young people aged 16 to 24 have had a mental illness, with young women more likely to be affected.

Anxiety was the most common disorder named by the participants.

Meanwhile, almost 45% of people who identify as LGBTQI+ reported having an anxiety disorder.

ABS statistician Linda Fardell said that while the study did not specifically address Covid, it provided an important insight into how the nation is coping with mental illness.

“The study does provide information about psychological stress levels as well as the strategies people are using to manage their mental health in 2020-2021,” she said.

The study was commissioned by former health secretary Greg Hunt before the pandemic.

Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruth Wein said the study will make “significant contributions to current mental health reforms.”

Suicide Prevention Australia has warned that the country is at a “critical crossroads” between the pandemic and natural disasters.

Chief Executive Nieves Murray called on the Albanian government to pass a National Suicide Prevention Act.

“We are now at a critical juncture in suicide prevention,” she said.

“Studies show that the largest increase in suicide rates can occur two to three years after a disaster, when the initial support factors weaken and the immediate community response fades.

“The law ensures that every government agency, whether housing, education, welfare or health care, must view its policies and priorities through the lens of suicide prevention.”

Health Secretary Mark Butler said the government understands the impact recent events have had on the mental health of the nation.

“We need to make sure we have the necessary resources to ensure that people can get the help they need, and it’s encouraging to see that more people are receiving support than in the previous report,” he said.

Originally published as Quiet crisis hits two in five Australians, grim new study shows