The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2020-21 was collected between December 2020 and July 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews were conducted with respondents in person where social distancing restrictions and other jurisdictional requirements allowed. During this time initiatives were in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 including border control measures for some states and territories, stay at home orders, remote learning, shutting down non-essential services, limits on gatherings and social distancing rules.
Mental health is a key component of overall health and wellbeing. A mental illness can be defined as ‘a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities’. The term itself covers a range of illnesses including anxiety, affective and substance use disorders.
A person does not need to meet the criteria for a mental disorder to be negatively affected by their mental health. Mental ill-health affects and is affected by multiple socioeconomic factors, including a person’s access to services, living conditions and employment status, and impacts not only the individual but also their families and carers.
The ABS recognises people who have a lived experience of mental ill-health and that having - or not having - mental ill-health does not define a person. We acknowledge that people are living productive, purposeful and meaningful lives with mental ill-health. We acknowledge their unique experiences, and those of carers, families and supporters of people living with mental ill-health.
The ABS uses, and supports the use of, the Mindframe guidelines on responsible, accurate and safe reporting on suicide, mental ill-health and alcohol and other drugs. The ABS recommends referring to these guidelines when reporting on statistics in this report.
Some of these statistics may cause distress. Services you can contact are detailed in blue boxes throughout this page and in the Mental health resources section at the bottom of this page.