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

MP: 'This animal is going to cost society millions'

Kevin Hogan MP for Page.

Kevin Hogan considers capital punishment in case of monster parents

This weekend's Northern Rivers markets list

Where to get fresh coffee and local produce from...

Win an iPad: Have your say on recycled water

17/08/06 159020a Water Glasses for Saturday's cost of water story.

Have your say on Ballina Shire Council's new recycled water service

Local Partners

Car chases and ducks, all in a day's work at cafe

ANYONE who has travelled the Pacific Highway between Sydney and Brisbane would know of the Parkside Cafe at Woodburn.

This weekend's Northern Rivers markets list

Where to get fresh coffee and local produce from...

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

One of the most unusual things about the jaboticaba is the way it grows directly on the trunk and branches of the tree, covering it with shiny round fruit. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Brazilian tree grapes and take home stir fries some new offerings

Stunning orchids on show in Lismore tomorrow morning

ONE of the magical orchids in show at Lismore Central at this year's Northern Rivers Orchid Species Society annual show.

Nature's most exotic works of art on show

Greg and Christine find a new (gold) lease on life

Christine and Greg Clark star in the TV series Aussie Gold Hunters.

COUPLE reckons there’s nothing like finding your first gold nugget.

Race facts and stats a winning combination

Impress colleagues with Melbourne Cup trivia

Birdy's voice soars during concert

English singer Birdy proves her skill during a recent concert.

The singer, 20, has acquired mythical status in the music world

Miley Cyrus finally confirms engagement to Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus.

Eccentric singer confirms long-held rumour

Former Oasis frontman threw popcorn at his brother

The Gallagher brothers have famously feuded for many years.

Oasis brothers still haven't made up

OUR SAY: Why musicians should be called 'tradies'

Should bands be paid every time they play? Journalist and musician Tom Gillespie thinks so.

We need to change the way we think about musicians.

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!