Australia's mental health: an overview of the General Population Survey




Henderson, A Scott
Andrews, Gary
Hall, Wayne

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SAGE Publications


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to estimate the 1-month and 1-year prevalence of mental disorders in the Australian adult population; to determine the amount of disablement associated with this; and to determine the use of health and other services by persons with common mental disorders. Method: For the Adult Survey, a household sample of 10,600 persons aged 18 years and over were interviewed across Australia by experienced field staff of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This was 78% of the target sample. The interview consisted of the composite international diagnostic interview in its automated presentation (CIDI-A) and other components to determine disablement, use of services and satisfaction with services received. The diagnostic classifications used in the analyses were both ICD-10 and DSM-IV. Only the results from ICD-10 are reported here. Results: A total of 17.7% of the sample had one or more common mental disorders, anxiety, depression, alcohol or substance abuse and neurasthenia. This morbidity was associated with considerable disablement in daily life: 3 days of impaired social role performance in the previous 4 weeks, compared with 1 day for the general population. Of all cases, 64.6% had had no contact with health services in the previous year; 29.4% had seen GPs and 7.5% had seen psychiatrists. Conclusion: Australia now has its own national estimates of psychiatric morbidity. The morbidity is associated with considerable disablement, but most of it is untreated. General practitioners encounter by far the largest proportion of those reaching services.



Keywords: adult; aged; alcohol abuse; anxiety neurosis; Australia; conference paper; depression; disability; general practitioner; health care utilization; health services research; human; interview; major clinical study; mental disease; mental health care; neurast Alcohol and substance abuse; Anxiety; CIDI; Depression; Disability; ICD-10; National surveys; Neurasthenia; Use of services



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry


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