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The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing provides information about the prevalence of selected mental disorders in the Australian population aged 16–85 years, the level of impairment associated with these disorders, physical conditions, and the use of health services, such as consultations with health practitioners or visits to hospital. The survey also provides information on the strength of social networks, caring responsibilities and a range of socio-economic and demographic characteristics.
The survey is based on an international survey instrument developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use by participants in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Therefore, it has been designed to provide data that are internationally comparable, rather than to provide comparisons with the 1997 survey. The survey was designed to provide estimates of the prevalence of mental disorders at a national level, rather than at a state/territory level.
Results from the survey have been released, approximately ten months after the completion of enumeration, in the publication National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results (cat. no. 4326.0). Subsequent results will be released in the form of a Basic and an Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) in early 2009.
Estimates from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the size of the sampling error affecting an estimate, ie the error introduced by basing estimates on a sample of the population rather than the full population. Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, as well as errors made in coding and processing the data.
The National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing was designed primarily to provide estimates at the national level, ie Australia. Due to the higher than expected non-response rate, the RSEs for all estimates are somewhat larger than originally designed. Broad estimates may be available at the state level for the larger states, eg New South Wales. However, users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level due to high sampling errors. RSEs for all estimates are available free-of-charge on the ABS website, released in spreadsheet format as an attachment to the survey publication.
In addition, an extensive range of non-response analyses were undertaken to ascertain, what, if any bias, may appear in the survey data. Analysis included comparisons of the characteristics of people who did and did not complete the personal interview, a small sample/short-form intensive Non-Response Follow-Up Study, and comparisons to existing ABS data. For more information on non-response, refer to the Explanatory Notes.
The supporting documentation released with the survey data can assist in understanding the relationships between data variables within the dataset and in comparisons with data from other sources. The Explanatory Notes contain relevant information for this release.
This is the second survey of this type conducted by the ABS, with the previous survey conducted in 1997. Care should be exercised when comparing this survey to the 1997 survey as there have been a number of changes to the scope, design, collection, methodology and content. For an overview of these differences please refer to the Explanatory Notes and Appendix 2. More information on comparability will also be provided in the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide (cat. no. 4327.0), planned for release on the ABS website in late 2008.
The survey publication, National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results (cat. no. 4326.0), contains a Summary of Findings and tables with footnoted data to aid the interpretation of the survey results. Explanatory Notes, a Technical Note, Appendices and a Glossary provide additional information on the data, terminology, classifications and other associated technical aspects. More information will be available in the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide (cat. no. 4327.0), planned for release on the ABS website in late 2008.
The main products available from this survey are:
Special tabulations are available on request. Subject to confidentiality and sampling variability constraints, tabulations can be produced from the survey to meet individual requirements. A list of data items from this survey will be available in the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide
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