Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

Report: Half of Australians Will Suffer from Mental Illness

I don’t know if I necessarily believe this:

ALMOST half of Australian adults suffer a mental disorder at some point in their life, the first national snapshot of the illness in a decade reveals.

But alarmingly, 2.1 million of the 3.2 million people who suffered from a mental illness in the 12 months leading up to the 2007 survey said they did not have their treatment needs met by the health system.

Mental Health Council of Australia deputy chief executive officer Sebastian Rosenberg said the large amount of unmet needs was an indictment on the nation’s health system.

“The unmet need is an incredibly alarming statistic,” he said.

“Things have gotten no better or indeed a little worse in the past 10 years.

“I think it is a terrible indictment on the number of services which are available to people with mental illnesses to get the care they need.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007 results, released today, revealed 45 per cent of the 16 million Australians aged 16 to 65 years had suffered a mental disorder at some stage in their lives.

One in five people surveyed had a mental illness in 2007.  [AAP]

I am skeptical of reports like this because of other reports I read about how in the US at least doctors over prescribe patients with pharmaceuticals:

11. Drug companies have enormous influence over what doctor are taught about drugs and what they prescribe. The companies support most continuing medical education (CME) courses, medical conferences, and meetings of professional societies. They have armies of sales representatives to visit doctors and teaching hospitals to tout their wares, hand out free samples, and provide meals and other gifts. There is ample evidence that this huge investment in medical “education” pays off in terms of the prescriptions doctors write.

Could the same thing be going on in Australia as well?