4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15  
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MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL CONDITIONS

Mental and behavioural conditions result from the complex interplay of biological, social, psychological, environmental and economic factors, and can change a person's thinking, feelings, and behaviour causing the person distress and difficulty in functioning[1].

    Changes to mental and behavioural conditions in 2014-15

    In 2014-15 a module specifically dedicated to mental and behavioural conditions was included in the National Health Survey (NHS) to collect information on cognitive, organic and behavioural conditions. In previous NHS cycles, mental and behavioural conditions were collected in a module that included a wide range of long-term health conditions. The number of persons who reported having a mental and behavioural condition in 2014-15 has increased since the 2011-12 NHS, potentially due to the greater prominence of mental and behavioural conditions in the new module. Data on mental and behavioural conditions for 2014-15 are therefore not comparable with data in previous National Health Surveys. For further information see the Explanatory Notes.

    Estimates of people with mental or behavioural conditions from the NHS will differ from those obtained from a diagnostic tool such as that used in the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

In 2014-15 there were 4.0 million Australians (17.5%) who reported having a mental or behavioural condition. Anxiety-related conditions were most frequently reported (2.6 million people or 11.2% of the population) followed by mood (affective) disorders, which includes depression (2.1 million people or 9.3%). Around one in twenty Australians (5.1%) reported having both an anxiety-related condition and a mood (affective) disorder.

Mental and behavioural conditions were more common amongst women than men (19.2% compared with 15.8% respectively).

In 2014-15, three in five people aged 15-64 years with a mental or behavioural condition were employed, compared with around four in five people of the same age without a mental or behavioural condition (60.7% compared with 78.3% respectively). Conversely, people aged 15-64 years with a mental or behavioural condition were more than twice as likely to be unemployed than people without a mental or behavioural condition (8.4% compared with 3.7% respectively). Almost one in three people aged 15-64 years with a mental or behavioural condition were not in the labour force, compared with around one in five people without a mental or behavioural condition (30.7% compared with 18.0% respectively).

Graph Image for Persons aged 15 to 64 years - Mental health condition status by labour force status, 2014-15

Source(s): National Health Survey: First results, 2014-15




Anxiety-related conditions

In 2014-15, around one in eight females (13.0%) reported having an anxiety-related condition compared with around one in ten males (9.4%). Women aged 15-24 years reported having an anxiety-related condition at twice the rate of men of the same age (18.9% compared with 7.9%).

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with anxiety related conditions, 2014-15

Source(s): National Health Survey: First results, 2014-15




Depression or feelings of depression

Around one in eleven people (8.9%) reported having depression or feelings of depression in 2014-15. Similar to anxiety-related conditions, females reported having depression or feelings of depression at a higher rate than males (10.4% compared with 7.4% respectively).

The rate of people reporting depression or feelings of depression increased until around 55-64 years of age (13.7%). For most age groups, females reported higher rates of depression or feelings of depression compared with their male counterparts.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with depression or feeling depressed, 2014-15

Source(s): National Health Survey: First results, 2014-15




Psychological distress

Information on psychological distress was also collected from adult respondents in the National Health Survey using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). See Psychological distress.

Endnote(s):

1 Australian Health Ministers, 2009. 'Fourth National Mental Health Plan – an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014', <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-f-plan09-toc>; last accessed 03/12/2015