Useful statistics

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:

Mental health

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)

(Source: Results from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Suicide

Tragically, in Western Australia in 2018:

  • There were 383 registered deaths by suicide, representing 2.6% of total deaths state-wide and 12.6% of all suicide deaths in Australia.
    • 285 were males and 98 females.
    • 39 were Aboriginal 
  • This represents a decrease in the number of registered suicides; 383 compared to 409 in 2017.
  • Despite this decrease, our state continues to have one of the highest rates of suicide in the country. The rate of 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2018 places Western Australia as third worst amongst all states and territories, and above the National average (which was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people).

Between 2014 and 2018, Western Australia had the:

  • Highest age-standardised rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (37.9 deaths per 100,000 people). This was considerably higher than the national average for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over this period (23. 7 deaths per 100,000 people); and
  • Second highest age-standardised rate of suicide among children aged 5 to 17 years (3.1 deaths per 100,000 people). This was higher than the national average for children aged 5 to 17 over this period (2.4 deaths per 100,000 people).

In 2018, across Australia, 3,046 people died from intentional self-harm (suicide).

  • Of these, 2,320 were by males and 726 by females.
  • The rate of suicide was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people, a decrease from 12.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017;
  • Suicide was the 14th leading cause of death for all Australians and the 5th leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • The rate of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia is nearly double (1.9 times) the rate for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • There were 100 recorded child suicide deaths and suicide remained the leading cause of death among Australian children;
  • The suicide rate among children aged 5 to 17 years was 2.5 deaths per 100,000 people;
  • More than half of all suicide deaths (54.8%) occurred between the ages of 30 and 59 years and suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 44 years;
  • Males aged 85 years and over had the highest rate of suicide across all age by gender cohorts (32.9 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by males aged 45 to 54 years (27.5 deaths per 100,000 people);
  • Mood disorders, including depression, were the most commonly mentioned co-morbidity across all suicide deaths (mood disorders were present in 43.9% of these deaths);
  • Problems related to substance use were present in over one quarter of suicide deaths (29.4%);
  • There were 1,740 registered drug-induced deaths and opioid drugs were found to have contributed to 1,123 (64.5%) of these deaths; and
  • The rate of opioid-induced deaths was slightly lower than that recorded in 2017 (4.6 deaths compared to 4.8 deaths per 100,000 people).

(Source: ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2018)

Alcohol and other drugs

The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey states, of Western Australians aged 14 years and older: 

  • 37.3% reported drinking alcohol at risky levels for single occasion harm at least once in the previous 12 months;
  • 14.7% reported smoking at least once in the previous 12 months;
  • 11.6% reported using cannabis in the previous 12 months;
  • 3.7% reported using pain-killers/analgesics and opioids for non-medical purposes (excludes over the counter medication) in the previous 12 months;
  • 2.7% had used meth/amphetamine in the previous 12 months; and
  • 0.2% had used heroin in the previous 12 months. (Please note that due to the small sample size Western Australian prevalence estimates for heroin have a high level of sampling error and needs to be interpreted with caution.)
  • 16.8% of Western Australians over 14 reported recently using an illicit drug.

(Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016)

Aboriginal specific

  • 8% of Aboriginal adults (over 18) in WA reported high levels of psychological distress in their lives (in 2012–2013)[1].
  • The proportion of Aboriginal people that consume alcohol at levels that exceed lifetime risk guidelines reduced from 19% in 2008 to 15% in 2014–15.[2]
  • Cannabis (or Gunja) was the most commonly reported illicit drug used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia in the last 12 months at 19%. For young Aboriginal people aged 15-24, over 5 in 8 (65% or 26,300) reported using cannabis related drugs.[3]
  • 39 Aboriginal people died by suicide in WA in 2018.
  • The number of Aboriginal people placed on both involuntary treatment orders (8.4%) or community treatment orders (9.6%) are considerably higher than the proportion of Aboriginal people living in Western Australia (3.9%).[4]

[1] Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2013, ABS

[2] Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia 2018, AIHW

[3] Including marijuana, hashish or cannabis resin, Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia 2018, AIHW

[4] MHAS Annual Report 2018-19

 

 

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