Mental Health In Australia

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Almost half (45%) of all Australians will experience a mental health problem over the course of their lifetime. Particularly young adulthood and adolescence are those who are especially in a critical time of their life where 75% of mental health problems first occurs in at least before they reach the age of twenty-five.

Among the many very important health issues facing Australians today mental health disorders is undeniably amid the most important health issues being faced. If these health issue disorders persevere for young individuals in their teenage years and young adulthood, the suffering, limitations and incapability that would occur and can cause can last for a span of many, many years into the future (McGorry et al., 2007).
Associated with mental disorders among youth are high rates of enduring disability, including school failure, impaired or unstable employment, and poor family and social functioning. These problems lead to spirals of dysfunction and disadvantage that are difficult to reverse. (McGorry et al., 2007).

As over 75% of mental disorders commence before the age of 25 years, reducing the economic, geographical, attitudinal and service organisation barriers for adolescents and young adults is an essential first step in addressing mental health problems (Hickie and McGorry, 2007). In the previous 12 months, child and adolescent males (16.3%) were more likely to have experiences mental disorders than females (11.5%). The rate of mental disorders for older females (12.8% for 12–17 year olds) was slightly higher than for younger females (10.6% for 4–11 year old). However, the frequency for males did not distinctly differ between the younger and older age groups (16.5% and 15.9% respectively).

This assignment will discuss mental health, types of mental health care delivery and its underpinning values, poverty as a social determinant of health and the application of codes and standards of cultural safety and person-centered care towards mental health. The relevance of working with patients with mental health will be discussed along with the type of care and assistance a nurse can offer.


Based on epidemiological data, approximately 690,000 Australians are estimated to have severe mental illness. In a primary health care setting, people who have occasional illness can be supported through limited clinical services whilst others who have a more of a persistent mental illness that require more clinical, hospital based services and in need of some form of social support, reaching from group activities that are delivered through social services to individualised support of the disability.

The types of health care delivery that has been chosen to be analysed and explained is the primary health care service. In primary care health care service, with most having a severe mental illness, a substantial number around 360,000 people with mental illness are currently managed by a psychiatrist. Many others with severe mental illness rely mainly on general practitioners (GPs) to provide both mental health and physical health services.

Particular groups such as young people with, or at risk of severe mental illnesses need to be given or considered primary health care services. For people with severe mental illnesses who can be appropriately managed and taken care of through the primary care setting, will continue having GPs partake and have a central role in providing assessment, treatment and referral services. In helping to provide clinical care organisation for those with severe mental illness, mental health nurses have played a crucial role in primary health care settings managed by GPs and psychiatrists.


Primary mental health care service and community-based services in Australian HCS are two types of health care that are offer to those experiencing the issues of mental health. In nursing practice, nurses recognise improving health through primary health care can only be achieved by placing health in its social, cultural, political and environmental settings (https://anmf.org.au/documents/reports/PHC_Australia.pdf). Like other health professionals the role of nurses as providers of health promotion, is to create prevention strategies, assessment, care and treatment.

The Mental Health Nursing Services (MHNS) program involves community-based practices to help provide clinical care for people with severe mental health disorders during stages where services are unable to maintain and until the client’s disorder is no longer significantly impacting their social, work and personal life. Specialists work together to deliver services and support that offer a variety of settings made to meet the needs of the client which clearly supports the values of person-centered care and cultural safety in nursing practices.

The person-centered as well as the cultural safety approach to health care aim to treat everyone respectfully as a human being considering people’s desires, values, family situations, social circumstances and lifestyles whilst also seeing the person as an individual and not as a condition to be treated. It is not just about giving people whatever they want or providing information. It involves not just the patient, but the family and other supporters, meaning putting their families at the center of decisions and seeing the family work alongside professionals to develop appropriate solutions and get the best possible outcome. In comparison to some specialist and hospital settings, health professionals, specifically GPs working in primary health care have already been recognised for their person-centred approach in health care.

The values of primary and community-based health care services support and presents barriers for person centered care and cultural safety demonstrably in a holistic approach incorporating body, mind, spirit, environment, culture and socio-economic status to the facility of essential, accessible, quality care ( ).


Poverty is a well-known important social determinant of health. It increases the risk of mental health problems and can be both a causal factor and a consequence of mental ill health. About 25 years ago, researchers have evidence piled up probing the possible links and connections between both poverty and mental health around the world despite its high rates.

Approximately 80 percent of the 115 studies that covered thirty-three countries across the world, a 2010 review portrayed that poverty comes with higher rates of mental illness. Those studies also found that among those people who live in poverty, mental illnesses were more severe, lasted longer and had worse outcomes. There was also growing evidence that levels of depression of mental health are higher in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.

People who live in poverty have to tolerate a much larger burden of mental disorders in terms of having continuous exposure to events that are severely stressful, living environments that are unsafe and having poor health in general all lead to the contribution of the vulnerability towards the poor. In relations to the burden of those who live in poverty, they have to tolerate the burden that are in absence of access to treatments and also the just the risk of having the mental disorder alone.

In 2014, studies researched with twenty-three percent of the entire population that consisted of young kids under the age of eighteen, there was an estimate of 46.7 million individuals that lived below or on the poverty mark. They are not only struggling to go about and have their basic necessities they are also in risk of developing higher and unsafe levels of mental illness. Although there are many health care services available, unfortunately not everyone has the availability and access to health care services needed for their mental health and especially for those who come from or are in low income areas. Individuals who are from low income families or areas are unaware and unfamiliar with how to access the many mental health care facilities that many people take advantage and have the privilege to access to.

In addition, children who grow up in poverty can have their mental health be negatively affected as researched shown according to Urban Institute, when children and adolescents are brought up in poverty, the child’s as well as the parents cognitive functioning is taken up by the pressure and stress of everyday living. In other words, it’s difficult for the student/child to concentrate and be attentive during class and accomplish their potential if they are exposed, stressed, hungry, tired and traumatised.


In relation to discrimination, the experience of mental illness can negatively affect several important areas, including close relationships, employment, and education or training. As a consequence, poverty and social marginalisation may be the result of experienced discrimination and can have a negative impact on the seeking of support, service use, and treatment outcome. Stigma which has harsh effects can be internalised, preventing people and silencing them from seeking and receiving support; undermining their sense of self, such as their self-worth and confidence; and limiting the predictions of their expectations for health, education, employment and relationships.
Discrimination as a whole, is harmful to society in any way shape or form and opposes to the values and ethical code of the nursing profession that directly guides the nurse to “…respect the inherent dignity, worth, unique attributes, and human rights of all individuals” (ANA, 2015, p.17). In the Meriam Webster dictionary, there are numerous definitions of discrimination and one that includes: “the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people.” This statement position is to purposely recap the meaning and importance of an unbiased attitude and to deliver guidance towards creating inclusive approaches for all individuals of nursing care from all populations and of all ages.

Though discrimination has been shown to negatively affect health care quality, little is known about the extent to which racial discrimination works with and through gender, class, and sexuality to predict barriers to health care. Additionally, to address existing studies that focus on racial discrimination in the US, following an intersectional viewpoint, data findings from the 2014 Australian General Social Survey showed that perceptions of racial discrimination are significantly linked with perceived barriers to health care, although the relationship is not significantly stronger for low status groups. Moreover, analysis reveal that perceived racism and other forms of discrimination combine to predict perceived barriers to health care.
For at least one-tenth of people with mental health problems, health care settings are perceived as a source of discrimination. Factors such as cultural backgrounds, clinical practices and differences in the organisation of providing care should be explored more carefully to understand how local context specific interventions should be applied to prevent discrimination in health settings and therefore facilitate the access of patients to a quality health care.

Conclusion (150 words)

Furthermore, mental health disorders are among the most important health issues facing Australians. This assignment enlightened on an analysis of the impact of socio-political issues on mental health and of consumers’ experience of health services by considering the impact of dominant values, assumptions and processes shaping health care in Australia.
The knowledge gained from this research about mental health will enable these issues to be taken into consideration when caring for a patient with a mental health problem. The objective is to produce a nurse who is a competent consumer of research information (Dimmitt C. Carey J.C. Hatch P.A. 2007).


Cite this paper

Mental Health In Australia. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/mental-health-in-australia/



Are mental health issues common in Australia?
Yes, mental health issues are common in Australia. It is estimated that one in five Australians experience mental illness in any given year.
Is mental health free in Australia?
No, mental health is not free in Australia. Mental health services are provided by a number of different organisations and individuals, and can be accessed through private health insurance, Medicare, or other funding bodies.
What is the biggest mental health problem in Australia?
The biggest mental health problem in Australia is anxiety. Anxiety is a mental health problem that can be caused by stress, genetics, and other factors.
What is the current state of mental health in Australia?
The National Health Survey 2017–18 estimated that: 1 in 5 (20% or 4.8 million) Australians reported that they had a mental or behavioural condition during the collection period (July 2017 to June 2018) . Females reported a higher proportion of mental or behavioural conditions (22%) than males (18%).
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