People living with psychotic illness in 2010: the second Australian national survey of psychosis

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2012 Aug;46(8):735-52. doi: 10.1177/0004867412449877. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Objective: The 2010 Survey of High Impact Psychosis (SHIP) is Australia's second national psychosis survey. This paper provides an overview of its findings, including comparisons with the first psychosis survey and general population data.

Methods: The survey covered 1.5 million people aged 18-64 years, approximately 10% of Australians in this age group. A two-phase design was used. In phase 1, screening for psychosis took place in public mental health services and non-government organizations supporting people with mental illness. In phase 2, 1825 of those screen-positive for psychosis were randomly selected and interviewed. Data collected included symptomatology, substance use, functioning, service utilization, medication use, education, employment, housing, and physical health including fasting blood samples.

Results: The estimated 1-month treated prevalence of psychotic disorders in public treatment services was 3.1 people per 1000 population; the 12-month treated prevalence was 4.5 people per 1000. The majority (63.0%) of participants met ICD-10 criteria for schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. One-half (49.5%) reported attempting suicide in their lifetime and two-thirds (63.2%) were rated as impaired in their ability to socialize. Over half (54.8%) had metabolic syndrome. The proportion currently smoking was 66.1%. Educational achievement was low. Only 21.5% were currently employed. Key changes in the 12 years since the first survey included: a marked drop in psychiatric inpatient admissions; a large increase in the proportion attending community mental health clinics; increased use of rehabilitation services and non-government organizations supporting people with mental illness; a major shift from typical to atypical antipsychotics; and large increases in the proportions with lifetime alcohol or drug abuse/dependence.

Conclusion: People with psychotic illness face multiple challenges. An integrated approach to service provision is needed to ensure that their living requirements and needs for social participation are met, in addition to their very considerable mental and physical health needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Catchment Area, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotic Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders* / psychology
  • Random Allocation
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted* / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted* / statistics & numerical data


  • Antipsychotic Agents