This week was world mental health day. I wanted to reflect on behalf of the AAPi board on the hard work that every one of you is doing to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.
Whether you are an affiliate member, provisional psychologist, a psychologist with full registration, or a retired psychologist- I imagine you have all keenly felt the strain of the support that is being asked of us.
This a reminder for those feeling like the end of the year, some holidays or rest cannot come quick enough, that we are working in a significant sector that has not been adequately funded for many years. The data speaks for itself.
The ABS data captured what we have been noticing and feeling in our work-
In 2020-21, 15% of Australians aged 16-85 years experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.
- women were more likely to experience high or very high levels of psychological distress than men (19% compared with 12%)
- one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-34 years experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, more than twice the rate of those aged 65-85 years (9%).
In 2020-21, 3.4 million Australians aged 16-85 years (17%) saw a health professional for their mental health.
- 13% of people saw a GP for their mental health
- 8% saw a psychologist.
In addition to mental health-related consultations with health professionals, around 612,000 Australians accessed other services for their mental health via phone or digital technologies, including crisis support or counselling services, online treatment programs and tools to improve mental health, and mental health support groups and forums.
In 2020-21, 15% of Australians aged 16-85 years reported feeling lonely in the previous four weeks, while 16% of households experienced at least one financial stressor such as not being able to pay bills on time.
- Over two in five Australians aged 16-85 years (43.7% or 8.6 million people) had experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life
- One in five (21.4% or 4.2 million people) had a 12-month mental disorder
- Anxiety was the most common group of 12-month mental disorders (16.8% or 3.3 million people)
- Almost two in five people (39.6%) aged 16-24 years had a 12-month mental disorder
With regards to services and individuals working in this space, self-care can only get us so far in a system that is not keeping up to date with the demand- but it is still very important. I encourage all members to keep up with peer supervision when they are able, to connect with different psychologists in the AAPi member forums, to contact us with your concerns or ideas, and to make space for joy and fun in your life with your loved and close ones.
The AAPi board are as dedicated as ever to advocating for a fair and just mental health system that not only supports clients but the people providing this service too.