Australia has scored poorly in a report on the nation’s mental health which found 39 per cent of participants were depressed and another 37 per cent were anxious.
The report, called Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check-in, involved 3102 people aged between 18 and 89, including employees at corporations such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Wesfarmers.
They completed a survey and wore devices developed at the University of Western Australia and company Medibio that measured circadian, sleep and autonomic nervous system biomarkers.
The study involved two, four-week periods to provide a “dashboard score” of peoples’ mental health and wellbeing.
“Alarmingly, the check-in revealed nine-in-10 participants exhibiting symptoms of a severe mental health illness, were neither undergoing, nor yet to receive, treatment,” project creator and psychologist Peta Slocombe said.
“Life is evidently much harder for many Australian adults than what it should be.”
The “check-in” was designed to make it easier for people to undertake a mental health check and be armed with mental health-related information given the time and costs involved in GP and psychologist visits and medication, she said.
The results also revealed 39 per cent of participants were living with depression, while another 37 per cent met the criteria for anxiety disorders.
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That compared to Bureau of Statistics figures of 6.1 per cent and 14.2 per cent respectively.
“Generation Z” participants aged 18-24 recorded the highest incidence of depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance, and shared the lowest scores of all age categories on trust.
Generation Y (25-34 year olds) were the next age group most likely to be living with a mental health illness, while Generation X (those aged 35-54) were the least likely.
Self-criticism, perfectionism and low self-awareness also emerged as key behavioural influencers of the nation’s mental health.
Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.