4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2015   
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PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS

Mental health is fundamental to the wellbeing of individuals, their families and the population as a whole. One indication of the mental health and wellbeing of a population is provided by measuring levels of psychological distress using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). The K10 questionnaire was developed to yield a global measure of psychosocial distress, based on questions about people’s level of nervousness, agitation, psychological fatigue and depression in the past four weeks[1].

In 2014-15, around one in nine (11.7% or 2.1 million) Australians aged 18 years and over experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, similar to 2011-12 (10.8%). Around two thirds (68.0%) of adults experienced a low level of psychological distress in 2014-15.

More women than men experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress in 2014-15 (13.5% and 9.9% respectively).

Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, rates of high or very high psychological distress remained stable across most age groups, with the exception of 18-24 year old women (up from 13.0% to 20.0% respectively). Women aged 18-24 years had the highest rate of any age group or sex in 2014-15.

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion with high or very high levels of psychological distress, 2001 to 2014-15

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



In 2014-15, adults living in areas of most disadvantage across Australia were more than twice as likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress than adults living in areas of least disadvantage (17.7% compared with 7.3% respectively), continuing the pattern from 2011-12 (15.0% compared with 6.2% respectively).

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - proportion with high-very high psychological distress, by disadvantage(a), 2014-15

Footnote(s): (a) Based on the 2011 Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage. A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates an area with relatively greater disadvantage. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage. See the Glossary for more information.

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




ENDNOTES

1. Coombs, T., 2005, ‘Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network; Kessler -10 Training Manual’, NSW Institute of Psychiatry.