According to data from the Medibank Better Health Index, Australia has seen a rise in mental health issues since 2010, with more than 1 in 3 Aussies (35.4%) now affected by either anxiety, depression or stress.
Looking at these three mental health conditions, the steepest increase has been observed in anxiety – it has grown significantly, from being reported in 11.6% of the population in 2010-11 to 18.3% in 2015-16.
Does the incidence of mental health conditions differ across Australia’s states and territories?
Interestingly, the number of mental health issues does differ from state to state. For example, Tasmania sees the highest rate of anxiety and depression — at 21.6% and 18.1% affected respectively, while Queenslanders show the highest stress levels, with 27.5% reporting that they’re regularly affected by stress. In contrast, the lowest levels of anxiety were seen in WA, with just 16.3% of the population affected, and the lowest rate of depression was observed in Victoria, at just 13.4%. Finally, SA residents reported the lowest stress levels, at just 23.2%.
What steps can you take to better your mental health?
There are various things you can do to boost your mood when you’re feeling down — from reducing and/or managing stress, regular exercise and improving your diet to cutting back on alcohol, making sure you have a good work life balance and engaging in regular social activities.
However the most important thing to bear in mind is to learn some of the warning signs around mental health conditions, and if you think you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, seek help from a mental health specialist or your GP.
How can you support those affected by mental health issues?
The annual R U OK? Day is coming up on September 8, and while we never really need a special day to check in on our loved ones, R U OK? Day does provide a great reminder to reach out and ask this simple question if someone you know seems to be struggling.