Australians happy with mental health services, October 2013

According tnew research by the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA), four out of ten Australians whuse mental health services are very satisfied with them.

“We surveyed 1,000 Australians and more than 40% of those whexperience, or have been diagnosed with, a mental illness told us they are very satisfied with the services they are using,” MHCA CEFrank Quinlan said today.

“It is seasy for us tbe pessimistic, but this research shows there is a lot of good news for those whexperience mental illness in Australia. This is particularly encouraging for those whmay be thinking about seeking help.

“This sort of data alsencourages continued investment in mental health services by governments across Australia, towards the provision of the best services when and where they are needed.

“Through our World Mental Health Day campaign, we are promoting a message that will break down stigma in regards tmental illness, bring communities together and encourage people tseek help early; in essence a message of hope.”

The research found that 18% of respondents were currently experiencing a mental illness, which mirrors the national survey on mental health and wellbeing conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The findings come in the lead up tWorld Mental Health Day on 10 October. In addition t41% of participants with a mental illness reported they were very satisfied with their treatment, 44% report they were mixed but mostly satisfied.

“We alsfound that 13% of people surveyed were very dissatisfied with the treatment they received for their mental illness and this shows us we have a lot more work tdo,” Mr Quinlan said.

“As always, women were more likely tseek treatment than men, and the most common point of call for help-seeking is a GP.

“The main reasons for not seeking help were stigma and embarrassment, the short term nature of an experience, or gender, with one responded whwas asked why he didn’t seek help simply saying “I am a man”. By asking people tmake a mental health promise and talk about mental health, we are changing this sort of attitude.”

The MHCA is calling on people tmake and share their mental health promise, tencourage more people topen up about mental health. Anyone can make a promise at http://1010.org.au/promise/add.

Key findings

  • 32% of adult Australians report a mental illness, with 18% still experiencing it.

  • More women than men say they’ve had a mental illness but the standout demographic difference is that acknowledging a mental illness falls with age from 40% among the under 30s t18% among the over 70s.

  • People from low income households, those unemployed and full time home makers are among the higher groups of people whacknowledge mental illness.

  • People from high income households are among the least likely tsay they have a current mental illness but among the most likely tsay they’ve had one in the past.

  • 24% report they have been diagnosed with a mental illness (most commonly women in the 30-49 age group).

  • Women are more likely than men thave received help but age differences on this question are relatively small.

  • Treatment is most commonly from a GP (81%), followed by a psychologist (48%) and a psychiatrist (44%).

  • Satisfaction rates with treatment are high; 41% report being “very satisfied” with their treatment and another 44% select “mixed but mostly satisfied” leaving 13% very dissatisfied.

  • The main reasons given by those whdon’t seek treatment are:

    • They have been able tcope with it.

    • Stigma or embarrassment.

    • Their own attitudes have prevented them from seeking help. One respondent, for instance, said simply, “I am a man.”

    • The illness was temporary only.

  • Older people were more likely tuse GPs and specialist services than young people, while young people were more likely tuse crisis support services and online services than older people.

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