4433.0.55.004 - Psychological Disability, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/02/2015  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product



This publication presents information from the 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC). The SDAC is designed to measure the prevalence of disability in Australia, as well as inform around the socio-economic characteristics and the need for support by people with disability.

In the 2012 SDAC, psychological disability refers to people who reported:

    • A nervous or emotional condition which causes restrictions in everyday activities that has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more; or
    • A mental illness for which help or supervision is required that has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more; or
    • A brain injury, including stroke, which results in a mental illness or nervous and emotional condition which causes restrictions in everyday activities.
This publication presents information about people with psychological disability irrespective of whether they also have another disabling condition. The population referred to as people with ‘Disability other than psychological disability’ excludes all people with psychological disability, regardless of whether they also have another disability.


At the national level, results from the 2012 SDAC showed that:

    • Of all people with any type of disability, 18.5% had a psychological disability.
    • 3.4% of Australians (770,500 people) reported having a psychological disability, with similar rates for men and women. This was an increase from 2.8% (606,000 people) in 2009.
    • Of those with a psychological disability, just over four in ten reported profound levels of core activity limitation, and a further two in ten severe core activity limitations.
It was also revealed that a wide range of long-term health conditions and impairments coexist with psychological disability:
    • The majority of people who reported a psychological disability reported having one or more other disabling conditions.
When looking at the need for and receipt of assistance, results included:
    • 96% of people with psychological disability reported needing assistance or experiencing difficulty in at least one of the broad activity areas of everyday life.
    • Only 1.8% of people with psychological disability who reported needing assistance did not have their need met at all.
Finally, results in this publication show lower participation in education and employment for people with psychological disability, compared with those with no disability.