Department of Family and Community Services

Topic 2: Social and emotional health

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Some 46 percent of Australians – 7.3 million people – experience a mental disorder over their lifetime.1 In NSW, adults cut down on their activities almost one day per month on average due to psychological distress. Of these, only a small proportion access services, suggesting a high rate of unmet need.

The first indicator in this section refers to self-reported psychological distress, which reflects the experiences of people who have not sought help as well as those that have. Young people who have received hospital care for a specific mental health-related issue is the focus of the second indicator. Injuries caused by intentional self-harm are increasing in frequency, and are initiated more frequently by young women than young men. The final set of indicators looks not at mental health problems, but at the social relationships that help create good mental health. Several social capital indicators that relate to people’s experiences of connection and reciprocity within their neighbourhoods are described.

1 ABS (2008) National survey of mental health and wellbeing: summary of results, Australia, 2007. Cat no. 4326.0.