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Statistics and research

What is mental illness?

“A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with other people.” - Australian Government Department of Health

Whether it is family or friends, neighbours or work colleagues, the chances are we all know someone who is affected by mental illness. Here is a snapshot of mental illness in Australia.

Mental illness in Australia

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Suicide in Australia

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Mental illness and gender

  • Women are more likely than men to experience anxiety disorders (18% compared with 11%) and affective disorders (7.1% compared with 5.3%).
  • Men were more than twice as likely as women to have substance abuse disorders (7% compared with 3.3%), with alcohol use disorders more common than drug use disorders.
  • One in five recent mothers will experience a mild, moderate or severe form of post-natal depression.

Mental health: the bigger picture

Mental illness can affect anyone. In Australia, almost half (45 per cent) of us will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Learn more about mental health and related issues from our research reports.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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