4329.0.00.004 - National Health Survey: Mental Health and co-existing physical health conditions, Australia, 2014 - 15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2015  First Issue
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KEY FINDINGS

In 2014-15 there were 4.0 million Australians (17.5%) who reported having a mental or behavioural condition1. Results also showed that 15.8% of all Australians (3.6 million people) reported co-existing long-term mental and behavioural and physical health conditions. This included:

    • 13.3% of the population who had at least one mental and behavioural condition and two or more physical health conditions; and
    • 2.5% who had at least one mental and behavioural condition and only one co-existing physical health condition.
It also revealed that more females than males had co-existing long-term mental and behavioural and physical health conditions (17.7% compared with 13.9% respectively).

In addition, people with co-existing mental and physical health conditions were more likely to be unemployed, have a lower level of educational attainment, and be living in a lone-person household compared with those with physical health conditions only.

People with a mental and behavioural condition were almost twice as likely than those without a mental and behavioural condition to report having diabetes (8.1% compared with 4.5%), almost three times as likely to report chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (5.7% compared with 2.0%) and around twice as likely to report osteoporosis (6.3% compared with 2.9%).

People with two or more mental and behavioural conditions only were 5 times as likely as the general adult population to report high or very high levels of psychological distress, 55.9% compared with 11.7%.

WHAT IS COMORBIDITY?

Comorbidity is the presence of two or more disorders (or diseases) in one person at the same time. In this publication, comorbidity refers to people with more than one long-term health condition, where those conditions are current and have lasted, or are expected to last, for six months or more.

This publication provides a cross-section of results from the National Health Survey, 2014-15. It provides an overview of selected characteristics of people with co-existing health conditions, in particular, people with co-existing mental and behavioural and physical health conditions. Mental and behavioural conditions in this publication are those described in Appendix 1, Explanatory Notes, and include both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases. All other conditions are being treated as 'physical health conditions'.


ENDNOTES

1 National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15, (cat. No. 4364.0.55.001).