Lifestyle

Commissioner calls on nation to help stop suicide

One in five Australian adults experience a mental health difficulty in any given year.
One in five Australian adults experience a mental health difficulty in any given year. John Gass

THE entire nation needs to come on board to help Australians with mental health problems and prevent suicide, the nation's Mental Health Commissioner, Professor Allan Fels, recommended on Tuesday.

Prof Fels released the first-ever national mental health report card on Tuesday - a no-holds-barred look at how the nation is actually performing in addressing mental health problems.

While the report card revealed the country was doing well "in policy", it was not performing well in "delivery".

"Every Australian will experience a mental health difficulty themselves at some stage, or they will be impacted by the experiences of someone close to them," Prof Fel said.

"One in five Australian adults experience a mental health difficulty in any given year, and an estimated 7.29 million Australians aged 16 to 85 have a lived experienced of mental illness."

Prof Fels said the report uncovered some difficult truths which would be "very difficult to walk away from"; in an effort to ensure the politicians in charge of federal and state governments actually take action on the problems.

Among the issues the report identified were:

  • The early rates of death among people with a mental illness
  • Lack of access to appropriate health services
  • Use or misuse of alcohol
  • Significant correlation between mental and physical health problems

"The statistics related to physical illness and early death among people with a mental health difficulty are appalling. Their health is worse than the general community on just about every measure," Prof Fels said.

"People with a severe mental illness have their life expectancy reduced by 25 years on average due to the increased likelihood of heart related conditions, diabetes and obesity.

"There are many contributing factors and there are no simple answers, but this demands immediate action."

The report card was welcomed by several non-government organisations, including Uniting Care and the Disability Commissioner, Graeme Innes.

Mr Innes said he was pleased to take part in Prof Fels report, and the input from people with "lived experience of mental illness" was an essential ingredient in the report.

Mental Health Minister Mark Butler noted the report was a reminder of what the 3.2 million Australians who have a mental illness face.

But he said there was significant work to be done by the states and territories to stop people with mental illnesses being discharged into homelessness.

Prof Fels said the report card called for change in 10 specific areas, including a regular national survey of people with mental health problems; improved data collection and making up to 12% of the population able to access mental health services each year.

Other recommendations included listing mental illness as a "chronic disease" to improve funding; inclusion in the national "Closing the Gap" project; and various other national initiatives.

 

People with a mental illness

  • Live 10-32 years less than the general population
  • 12% will also have asthma, diabetes or, sinusitis or psoriasis
  • Were three time more likely to have diabetes
  • One third were more likely to have a 'cardiovascular event' in the next five years
  • More than two and half times more likely to smoke

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  depression, illness, mental health, suicide




Man sentenced over vile act

Bundaberg court housePhoto: Zach Hogg / NewsMail

Man jailed for spitting on police officer

Daughter finds her dad after 25 years

FAMILY UNITED: Jason Heilbronn holds a paternity test that has proven he is the father of Jess Hahn, who he did not know existed for 25 years.

Dad and daughter find each other on Facebook

Auswide fails in buyout bid

WAIT AND SEE: Auswide managing director Martin Barrett said he thought Capricornian members would be in favour of merging with the Bundaberg-based bank.

Auswide believes merger would be a great business case

Latest deals and offers

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.