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About mental health

The impact of mental illness within the Australian population has become increasingly apparent. The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that an estimated 3.2 million Australians (20% of the population aged between 16 and 85) had a mental disorder in the twelve months prior to the survey. The The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003 study indicated that mental disorders constitute the leading cause of disability burden in Australia, accounting for an estimated 24% of the total years lost due to disability.

The AIHW's role

The AIHW collects and reports on national mental health care data, detailing the activity and characteristics of mental health care services in Australia. Data on mental health-related care are provided in the Institute’s online Mental Health Services in Australia report. The AIHW also analyses and reports population-based information, including the prevalence and burden of mental health disorders within Australia.

The AIHW collection and reporting processes have been developed to address the information needs identified in the National Mental Health Strategy and National Health Priority Areas.

Mental health services in Australia reports

The online Mental health services in Australia report provides the most recent information about the activity and characteristics of Australia’s mental health care services and is updated progressively each year as more recent data becomes available.

Mental health services–In brief is a hard copy, companion report to the online version which is produced annually and provides an overview of the mental health services data that became available in the preceding 12 months. The most recent Mental health services–In brief report available is:

Previous copies of the Mental health services in Australia publication from 1998-99 through to 2013 can be found on the Mental health services publications page and are downloadable in both pdf and rich text format.

Mental Health and Palliative Care Unit

The Institute’s Mental Health and Palliative Care Unit has the responsibility for the collating, analysing and reporting of mental health care service data contained in the two reports.

A number of other AIHW units and collaborating units also report mental health-related data from their data collections. For example, there are a number of references in Australia's health 2012 to the comorbidity between mental illness and dementia, cardiovascular disease, disability and alcohol abuse.