The Mental Health Commission is asked to provide information and statistics on a range of subjects related to mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs, by the media.
Below is a selection of the key statistics that may be of interest to journalists:
One in five Australians aged 16 to 85 years experience mental health issues in any given year (i.e. one of the common forms of mental illness - anxiety, affective or mood disorders, and substance use disorders)
The number of adults in WA with high or very high levels of psychological distress has remained fairly steady in the long term (estimated 7.3% in 2019, similar to previous years.)
(Source: DOH HWSS Survey 2019)
Impact on community
For Australia, Mental and substance use disorders were estimated to be responsible for 12% of the total burden of disease in 2015, placing it fourth as a broad disease group after Cancer (18%), Cardiovascular diseases (14%) and Musculoskeletal conditions (13%) (AIHW 2019).
In terms of the non-fatal burden of disease, which is a measure of the number of years of ’healthy’ life lost due to living with a disability, Mental and substance use disorders were the second largest contributor (23%) of the non-fatal burden of disease in Australia, behind Musculoskeletal conditions (25%) (AIHW 2019).
(Source: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015)
Tragically, in Western Australia in 2020:
- There were 381 registered deaths by suicide, representing 2.54% of total deaths state-wide and 12.14% of all suicide deaths in Australia. 295 were males and 86 females.
- This represents a decrease in the number of registered suicides; 381 in 2020 compared to 418 in 2019 (and 383 in 2018).
- The number of suicides by females decreased from 115 in 2019 to 86 in 2020.
- The number of suicides by males decreased from 303 in 2019 to 295 in 2020
- Despite this decrease, our state has the fourth highest suicide rate across all Australian states and territories in 2020. The rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in Western Australia is higher than the national average of 12.1 deaths per 100,000.
Between 2016 and 2020, Western Australia had the:
- Highest age-standardised rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (33.3 deaths per 100,000 people). This was considerably higher than the national average for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over this period (25.6 deaths per 100,000 people) (see note below); and
- Second highest age-standardised rate of suicide among children aged 5 to 17 years (3.2 deaths per 100,000 people). This was higher than the national average for children aged 5 to 17 over this period (2.5 deaths per 100,000 people).
In 2020, across Australia, 3,139 people died from intentional self-harm (suicide).
- Of these, 2,384 were by males and 755 by females.
- The rate of suicide was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people, which was the lowest since 2016.
- Suicide was the 13th leading cause of death for non-Indigenous Australians and the 5th leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (this was the same in 2019)
- In the two five-year periods between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020 the rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia is double the rate for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- There were 99 recorded child suicide deaths in 2020 (compared to 96 in 2019) and suicide remained the leading cause of death among Australian children 5 to 17 years of age;
- Mood disorders, including depression, were the most commonly mentioned co-morbidity across all suicide deaths (mentioned in 40.3% of suicide deaths in 2020); and
- Problems related to substance use were present in over one quarter of suicide deaths (29.6%).
Note: The national suicide age-standardised suicide rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is based on data from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory only. Data is not included for Victoria, Tasmania or the Australian Capital Territory for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander national age-standardised suicide rate.
Alcohol and other drugs
The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey states, of Western Australians aged 14 years and older:
- Most people in WA drank alcohol at levels that did not exceed the lifetime risk and single occasion risk guidelines for reducing health risks from alcohol. The proportion of people exceeding these guidelines (17.2% for lifetime harm and 26% for single occasion risk) was similar to 2016, but declined since 2007.
- 11.9% smoked tobacco
- 11.2% used cannabis (down from 11.6% in 2016)
- 2.9% used ecstasy (down from 3.2%)
- 2.4% used cocaine (up from 1.6% - but still substantially below the national average of 4.2%)
- 2.1% used meth/amphetamine (down from 2.7% - still higher than the national average which is 1.3%)
- 1.7% used pharmaceuticals for non medical purposes (down slightly from 1.8%)
- 15.6% of Western Australians over 14 reported recently using an illicit drug.
The Alcohol and Other Drug Harm Snapshot Survey found that at the national level in 2019:
- 13% of emergency department (ED) presentations were alcohol-related and 2.8% of ED presentations were methamphetamine related in Australia;
- Western Australia consistently had the highest percentage of alcohol-related ED presentations nationally, with more than one in five (22%) ED patients there in relation to alcohol in 2019;
- All jurisdictions had similar percentages of methamphetamine presentations in 2019 (ranging from 2.0-3.8%). Western Australia reported the largest difference in methamphetamine-related ED presentations in 2019 compared to 2018, reducing from almost 5.9% to 3.3%.
Demand in the Community Treatment and Hospital services
456,912 people were prescribed mental health related medication in WA in 2018-19 (17.5% of the WA population).
- Of those, 40,217 were prescribed by psychiatrists, 419,433 by GPS and with others by GPS and 37,736 by non-psychiatric specialists.
- 345,310 were prescribed for anti-depressants, 42,055 for anti-psychotics
- There were 4.073 million prescriptions in WA
2.5% of WA’s population received clinical mental health care (63,415) in 2018-19, up from 60,629 people in 2017-18.
(Source: AIHW Mental Health Services in Australia online report - Prescriptions Table PBS.2 and Indicators Table KPI.8.1, KPI.8.2)
There were 7,217 young people seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in 2019-20. This figure was 6,319 the year before (18-19) 5,535 in 17-18 and 5,802 in 16-17.
In February 2021, there were 1,307 mental health inpatient admissions to WA hospitals.
- 47% of those were admitted via an Emergency Department.
63,668 people were treated by community mental health services in WA in 2018-19. (up from 60,629 the previous year and 39,547 in 2008-09).
- There were 966,266 service contacts, of which 154,899 were for a principal diagnosis of schizophrenia, 44,731 for a depressive episode, 38,385 for bipolar affective disorders, 46,430 for specific personality disorders, 42,327 for reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders and 13,850 for an eating disorder.
(Source: AIHW Mental Health Services in Australia online report - Community Mental Health Services Table CMHC.1)
Outcomes in the Public Community Treatment and Hospital services
- Approximately two-thirds (66.3%) of inpatient respondents reported being highly satisfied across the State, a 4.2 percentage point reduction from 2018.
- Three-quarters (75%) of inpatient consumers said they would recommend the service to their family or friends.
- For community services, approximately four out of five respondents in State community mental health services reported being highly satisfied with the service (79.1%), similar to 2018.
(Source: YES Survey 2020)
- There were 316 psychiatrists, 2,748 mental health nurses and 2,821 psychologists in WA. (up from 314, 2,614 and 2,770 the previous year)
There are currently:
- 34 licensed private psychiatric hostels in WA. (Department of Health Licencing and Accreditation Unit)
- 245 listed organisations delivering 645 mental health, alcohol and other drug services across WA. (Mental Health Commission's My Services directory, 14 April 2021)
These other websites provide statistical reports from various government agencies:
- Department of Health population surveys (WA Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System surveys - children and adults)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics - Your Health and Wellbeing Survey, 2007
- Australian Bureau of Statistics - National Health Survey (includes Psychological Distress and Mental and Behavioural Conditions data), 2014-15)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics - Causes of Death data (includes Intentional Self-Harm - Suicide)
- Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (Young Minds Matter Survey)
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – National Drug Strategy Household Survey
- Illicit Drug Data Report
- National Psychosis Survey 2010 (People living with psychotic illness 2010) - Australian Government Department of Health)
- National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program
- Australian School Students National Alcohol and Drug Survey (by the Cancer Council Victoria's Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer for the Australian Government Department of Health and the National Drug Strategy
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - Mental Health Services in Australia
- Department of Health - Admitted Patient Activity Summary (choose speciality: Mental Health)
- Department of Health - Hospital Activity and Mental Health Beds
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - Opioid pharmacotherapy statistics
- Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, WA
- Australian Institute of Criminology - Drug use among police detainees, 2018
- Western Australia Police - Crime Statistics
- National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW
- Brain and Mind Centre, child development, youth mental health and brain ageing, University of Sydney
- Centre for Clinical Reseach in Neuropsychiatry, UWA
- Centre for Mental Health, population level research, University of Melbourne
- Centre for Mental Health Research, Research School of Population Health, ANU
- Mental Health, Curtin University
- Neuroscience Research Australia
- Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research
- Young Lives Matter - UWA