Mental Illness In Australia Essay

884 Words4 Pages
Should mental illness remain a National Health Priority in Australia?
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is an issue that affects one’s behaviour, emotions, thoughts and ability to interact with others (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2007). Common mental illnesses in Australia include anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders and personality disorders, with the most prevalent being anxiety disorders and depression. Anyone can develop a mental illness, although suffering from a chronic medical illness, experiencing a highly stressful or traumatic event, having a blood relation with a mental disorder or drug and alcohol use can increase one’s risk (Mayo Clinic 2015).

Epidemiology of mental illnesses in Australia
The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing Results revealed that at some stage in their lives, up to 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness, with 20% of the Australians surveyed in the 16-85 age group having experienced a mental illness within the 12 months preceding the survey
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The graph below, featured in a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, reveals that although there has been a slight decrease in the proportion of youth with mental illness, youth aged 16-24 still have the highest prevalence of mental disorders of all age groups. Approximately 26% or 671,000 youth experienced a mental illness in 2007 alone. Comparatively, less than 10% of people aged 65+ experienced a mental illness, although the prevalence in this age group has increased since 1997 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014). Although senior citizens have good mental health in general, due to stigmatism they are less likely than other age groups to seek help, often waiting until they desperately need assistance (Health Direct
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