Mental illness refers to a clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behaviour, usually associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning (WHO 2022).
This part of the website provides information on the prevalence of mental illness and gives an overview of Australia’s mental health system. The AIHW collects, analyses and reports on a broad range of mental health-related data and information and updates this site as new data becomes available.
Prevalence and impact of mental illness in Australia
Overview of Australia's mental health services
National mental health committees
There are a wide range of mental illnesses that vary in severity and duration. Not only can it have negative impacts on individuals and their families, but its influence is also far-reaching for society. Social problems commonly associated with mental illness include poverty, unemployment or reduced productivity and homelessness. People with mental illness often experience problems such as isolation, discrimination and stigma.
Around 8.6 million or 43.7% of Australians aged 16-85 had experienced a mental health disorder at some point in their life, according to the 2020-21 National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
The AIHW estimates that around $11.0 billion per annum is spent on mental health-related services in Australia. Services include residential and community services, hospital based services (both inpatient and outpatient), consultation with specialists and general practitioners.
The AIHW also provides data analytical support to the National Mental Health Commission and participates in various national mental health committees.
WHO (World Health Organization) (2022) Mental disorders, WHO, accessed 3 August 2022.
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