First insights from the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2020-21

Posted 14th December 2021 in Research General

The first insights from the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2020-21 were released on 8 December 2021, with the information aiming to support the creation, delivery and evaluation of health policies and research to enable Australians to live longer and healthier lives.

The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2020-21 is a component of the wider Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study (IHMHS) - the largest health study undertaken in Australia.

The IHMHS includes four national studies and will have approximately 60,000 Australians take part in it from now until 2024.

The following data for Australians aged 16-85 years in 2020-21 was released with the First Insights:

Psychological distress

  • 15% of Australians experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress
  • More women experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress than men (19% compared with 12%)
  • One in five (20%) younger Australians were more likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress than older Australians (9%).

Use of mental health services

  • 3.4 million Australians saw a health professional for their mental health
  • 13% of people saw a general practitioner (GP) for their mental health
  • 8% of people saw a psychologist
  • 612, 000 Australians accessed other services for their mental health via phone or digital technologies.

Aspects of wellbeing

  • 15% of Australians reported feeling lonely in the previous four weeks
  • 16% of households experienced at least one financial stressor, such as not being able to pay bills on time
  • 61% of Australians used at least one strategy to manage their mental health.

More comprehensive national estimates, including lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders, will be released in June 2022.

For more information, visit the ABS website.

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