Objective: To provide a description of the methods and key findings of the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Method: A national face-to-face household survey of 8841 (60% response rate) community residents aged between 16 and 85 years was carried out using the World Mental Health Survey Initiative version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Diagnoses were made according to ICD-10. Key findings include the prevalence of mental disorder, sex and age distributions of mental disorders, severity of mental disorders, comorbidity among mental disorders, and the extent of disability and health service use associated with mental disorders.
Results: The prevalence of any lifetime mental disorder was 45.5%. The prevalence of any 12 month mental disorder was 20.0%, with anxiety disorders (14.4%) the most common class of mental disorder followed by affective disorders (6.2%) and substance use disorders (5.1%). Mental disorders, particularly affective disorders, were disabling. One in four people (25.4%) with 12 month mental disorders had more than one class of mental disorder. One-third (34.9%) of people with a mental disorder used health services for mental health problems in the 12 months prior to the interview.
Conclusions: Mental disorders are common in Australia. Many people have more than one class of mental disorder. Mental disorders are associated with substantial disability, yet many people with mental disorders do not seek help for their mental health problems.