4364.0.55.002 - Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, 2011-12  
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MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL CONDITIONS


Mental and behavioural conditions comprise a range of organic conditions (such as dementia and genetic disorders) and psychological conditions (such as depression, substance use disorders and anxiety disorders). In 2011-12 there were 3.0 million Australians (13.6%) who reported having a mental or behavioural condition.

Of people who reported having a mental or behavioural condition, 68.1% had consulted a GP in the last 12 months for their condition, 26.6% had consulted a specialist and 29.3% had consulted an other type of health professional. The most commonly visited other health professionals were psychologists (19.3%), accredited counsellors (4.3%) and social/welfare workers (3.6%).

Around one-third (31.2%) of people with a mental or behavioural condition who were employed, at school or studying took time off work or study/school in the last 12 months due to their condition. Proportionally, more people with a mental or behavioural condition had time off than people with any other long-term health condition (see Health actions taken for specific long-term health conditions). In general, younger people were affected more than older people, with almost half (45.6%) of all 15-24 year olds with a mental or behavioural condition reporting having time off in the last 12 months.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with a mental or behavioural condition who had time off work, study or school, 2011-12(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Proportions based on total persons with a mental or behavioural condition who were employed, studying/at school. (b) In the last 12 months.

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions



For people with mental or behavioural conditions, information on medication use in the last 2 weeks was obtained from two questions. The first asked about a limited range of medication types taken for mental or behavioural conditions, while the second asked about all medications taken, irrespective of their therapeutic application.

In 2011-12, nearly half (43.2%) of people reporting a mental and behavioural condition reported taking antidepressants, while 14.5% reported taking tablets or capsules for anxiety or nerves, and 11.3% sleeping tablets or capsules. Of all people with a mental health or behavioural condition, 40.5% had not taken any type of medication for their condition in the last 2 weeks.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with a mental or behavioural condition who took mental or behavioural medications, 2011-12(a)


Of all medications taken in the last 2 weeks reported by persons with a mental or behavioural condition, the most common were psychoanaleptics (48.1%), analgesics (22.5%) and psycholeptics (16.2%).

For more information on mental and behavioural conditions see Table 11 Mental and behavioural problems: Actions and medications taken and Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001).


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