What was the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing?


The 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB) was designed to provide lifetime prevalence estimates for mental disorders.


To gain statistics on key mental health issues including the prevalence of mental disorders, the associated disability, and the use of services.

As such the NSMHWB was a national epidemiological survey of mental disorders that used similar methodology to the NCS. It aimed to answer three main questions:

  1. How many people meet DSM-IV and ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for the major mental disorders?
  2. How disabled are they by their mental disorders? and
  3. How many have seen a health professional for their mental disorder?


Respondents were asked about experiences throughout their lifetime. In this survey, 12-month diagnoses were derived based on lifetime diagnosis and the presence of symptoms of that disorder in the 12 months prior to the survey interview. Assessment of mental disorders presented in this publication are based on the definitions and criteria of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Prevalence rates are presented with hierarchy rules applied (i.e. a person will not meet the criteria for particular disorders because the symptoms are believed to be accounted for by the presence of another disorder).


  • Among the 16,015,300 people aged 16-85 years, 45% (or 7,286,600 people) had a lifetime mental disorder (i.e. a mental disorder at some point in their life).
  • More than half (55% or 8,728,700 people) of people had no lifetime mental disorders.
  • Of people who had a lifetime mental disorder:
    • 20% (or 3,197,800 people) had a 12-month mental disorder and had symptoms in the 12 months prior to the survey interview; and
    • 25% (or 4,088,800 people) had experienced a lifetime mental disorder but did not have symptoms in the 12 months prior to the survey interview.

Prevalence of 12-Month Mental Health Disorders

Prevalence of mental disorders is the proportion of people in a given population who met the criteria for diagnosis of a mental disorder at a point in time

  • Among the 3,197,800 people (or 20% of people) who had a 12-month mental disorder and had symptoms in the 12 months prior to interview:
    • 14.4% had a 12-month Anxiety disorder (includes Panic disorder (2.6%); Agoraphobia (2.8%); Social Phobia (4.7%); Generalised Anxiety Disorder (2.7%); Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (1.9%); and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (6.4%))
    • 6.2% had a 12-month Affective disorder (includes Depressive Episode (4.1%) (includes severe, moderate and mild depressive episodes); Dysthymia (1.3%); and Bipolar Affective Disorder (1.8%)), and
    • 5.1% had a 12-month Substance Use Disorder (includes Alcohol Harmful Use (2.9%); Alcohol Dependence (1.4%); and Drug Use Disorders (includes harmful use and dependence) (1.4%)).
  • Note that a person may have had more than one mental disorder.
    • The components when added may therefore not add to the total shown.
    • Includes Severe Depressive Episode, Moderate Depressive Episode, and Mild Depressive Episode.
    • Includes Harmful Use and Dependence.

There were 3.2 million people who had a 12-month mental disorder. In total, 14.4% (2.3 million) of Australians aged 16-85 years had a 12-month Anxiety disorder, 6.2% (995,900) had a 12-month Affective disorder and 5.1% (819,800) had a 12-month Substance Use disorder.

Women experienced higher rates of 12-month mental disorders than men (22% compared with 18%). Women experienced higher rates than men of Anxiety (18% and 11% respectively) and Affective disorders (7.1% and 5.3% respectively). However, men had twice the rate of Substance Use disorders (7.0% compared with 3.3% for women).

The prevalence of 12-month mental disorders varies across age groups, with people in younger age groups experiencing higher rates of disorder. More than a quarter (26%) of people aged 16-24 years and a similar proportion (25%) of people aged 25-34 years had a 12-month mental disorder compared with 5.9% of those aged 75-85 years old.

You can read the full survey results here and a shorter analysis can be found here.

What is the WHO Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems?


The World Health Organisation Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) is a new WHO tool for collecting essential information on the mental health system of a country or region.


The goal of collecting this information is to improve mental health systems and to provide a baseline for monitoring the change.

What is WHO-AIMS?

WHO-AIMS is a WHO tool for collecting essential information on the mental health system of a country or region. The goal of collecting this information is to improve mental health systems and to provide a baseline for monitoring the change.

For the purpose of WHO-AIMS, a mental health system is defined as all the activities whose primary purpose is to promote, restore or maintain mental health. WHO-AIMS is primarily intended for assessing mental health systems in low and middle income countries, but is also a valuable assessment tool for high resource countries.

Note: Great care has been taken to ensure the reliability of the data presented in the WHO-AIMS country reports. Data for WHO-AIMS are collected by a team led by a focal point within the country and are, in most cases, approved by the Ministry of Health. However, since WHO is not directly responsible for the data collection, WHO cannot independently verify the accuracy of any of the data presented in these reports.

WHO-AIMS Instrument, Version 2.2

You can find country reports, sub-regional reports, and other reports here (Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) site).

10 Mental Health Stats

Good mental health is related to mental and psychological well-being. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) work to improve the mental health of individuals and society at large includes the promotion of mental well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, the protection of human rights and the care of people affected by mental disorders.

  1. Mental, neurological and substance use disorders make up 10% of the global burden of disease and 30% of non-fatal disease burden.
  2. Around 1 in 5 of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental disorder.
  3. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, affecting 264 million people.
  4. About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14.
  5. Almost 800,000 people die by suicide every year; 1 person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.
    • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in individuals aged 15-29 years.
  6. Around 1 in 9 people in settings affected by conflict have a moderate or severe mental disorder.
  7. People with severe mental disorders die 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population.
  8. Rates of mental health workers vary from below 2 per 100,000 population in low-income countries to over 70 per 100,000 in high-income countries.
  9. Less than half of the 139 countries that have mental health policies and plans report having these aligned with human rights conventions.
  10. The global economy loses about US$ 1 trillion per year in productivity due to depression and anxiety.


World Health Organisation. (2019) Mental Health. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/mental-health. [Accessed: 17 May, 2021].

What are the Comorbidity Rates of Depression & Anxiety in First Episode Psychosis?

Research Paper Title

Comorbidity rates of depression and anxiety in first episode psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis.


Anxiety and depression symptoms are frequently experienced by individuals with psychosis, although prevalence rates have not been reviewed in first-episode psychosis (FEP).

The aim of this systematic review was to focus on the prevalence rates for both anxiety and depression, comparing the rates within the same study population.


A systematic review and meta-analysis was completed for all studies measuring both anxiety and depression in FEP at baseline.

The search identified 6040 citations, of which n = 10 met inclusion criteria.

These reported 1265 patients (age 28.3 ± 9.1, females: 39.9%) with diagnosed FEP.

Studies which used diagnosis to define comorbidity count were included in separate meta-analyses for anxiety and depression, although the heterogeneity was high limiting interpretation of separate prevalence rates.

A random-effects meta-analysis also compared the mean difference between anxiety and depression within the same studies.


The researchers show that anxiety and depression co-occur at a similar rate within FEP, although the exact rates are not reliable due to the heterogeneity between the small number of studies.


Future research in FEP should consider routinely measuring anxiety and depression using continuous self-report measures of symptoms.

Clinically, the researchers recommend that both anxiety and depression are equally targeted during psychological intervention in FEP, together with the psychotic symptoms.


Wilson, R.S., Yung, A.R. & Morrison, A.P. (2019) Comorbidity rates of depression and anxiety in first episode psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Research. pii: S0920-9964(19)30542-0. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2019.11.035. [Epub ahead of print].