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A new report released today by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) confirms how widespread mental illness is in Australia.

“The mental health sector is an extremely important part of Australian society, and we want to hear about these unsung heroes so their contribution to mental health can be publicly recognised in the Australian Mental Health Prize,” said Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group said.

The Australia’s health 2020 report shows one in five Australians reported they had a mental or behavioural condition in 2017-18.

“We expect the impact of COVID-19 will see a further increase in these figures, so it is more important than ever to publicly acknowledge mental health and those that work in the sector through the Australian Mental Health Prize,” Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty from UNSW Medicine and Advisory Board member of the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare said.

One of the data sources for the report, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) National Health Survey 2017-18, shows that NSW rates were similar to that of Australia: one in five people experienced mental and behavioural conditions. In NSW one in eight people had an anxiety-related condition and almost one in 10 people had depression or feelings of depression.

Nominate someone for the Australian Mental Health Prize

Ms Buttrose believes the findings reinforce the importance of removing the stigma associated with our mental health and recognising the great work that is being done by mental health experts and teams around Australia.

“The Australian Mental Health Prize helps support mental health workers, as well as those living with a mental health condition, and ensuring mental health stays top of mind in the community,” Ms Buttrose said.

“We encourage clinicians, health professionals, community groups and individuals to nominate people whom they feel are making a real difference in the area of mental health research, advocacy or service delivery for the 2020 Australian Mental Health Prize.”

According to the report, females reported a higher proportion of mental or behavioural conditions than males. Twenty-two per cent of females reported a mental health condition compared to 18 per cent of males.

Overall, respondents in the 15 to 24 age group reported the highest level of mental health conditions, with more than one-quarter (26 per cent) of this age group reporting having mental health issues.

Now in its fifth year, the Australian Mental Health Prize was established by UNSW through its School of Psychiatry and recognises Australians who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

To enter, you simply need to provide 200 words outlining the work being undertaken by the person you are nominating and how it is making an impact. Nomination forms can be obtained from the website. Nominations for the Australian Mental Health Prize close on 30 August.

The Australia’s Health 2020 report is based on the most recent national statistics on mental health gathered by the federal government during the year leading up to June 2018.