Mental health in Australia

Mental health is a key component of a person’s health and wellbeing. It has an impact on the way you feel, think and act across the day and has secondary impacts on the way you perceive relationships, work, stress and everyday life.  

Understanding mental health

Mental health statistics

  • Every year, 1 in 5 Australians aged 16-85 will experience a mental health condition
  • Half of all mental health conditions experienced will have started by the age of 14

Everybody naturally has mental health. Much like physical health, it is just a component of the person that you are. 

When referring to mental health, usually it will be referencing mental ill health or mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, post natal depression or schizophrenia. 

Population groups who are more at risk of suffering from mental ill health include: 

  • men 
  • indigenous populations 
  • rural and remote populations 
  • youth and adolescents 
  • older adults 
  • people with a physical illness or disability 
  • people with a history of substance use 
  • LGBTIQ+ individuals 
  • people who are unemployed or living in relative poverty 
  • people who are isolated or do not have connections within their community. 

Mental ill health can affect anyone, at any time and sometimes what seems like for no apparent reason.

Common mental health conditions

Anxiety disorder

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress in certain situations which can alert us to danger or heighten our focus. Anxiety disorder is a higher level of stress that is persistent, excessive or irrational. 

Symptoms may include excessive worry, increased heart rate, sweating, restlessness and muscle tension. Treatment often includes lifestyle changes, professional therapy or medication.


Depression is a common but serious mental health condition which can be characterised by constant feelings of sadness and hopelessness. It is a complex condition with both genetic and environmental variables. Treatment often includes lifestyle changes, professional therapy or medication.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder in children characterised by hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity. It is best to seek further clarification from a healthcare professional if you believe your child has ADHD.

Accessing services for parents and children

Finding relevant, useful services is one of the best places to start seeking some help around mental health. The following links are some great resources on mental health support for yourself as a parent or your child. 

Often, your child may want to seek information themselves without you, which is healthy and encouraged. 

If you or your child are having suicidal thoughts or believe anyone is at immediate risk of harm, call Triple Zero (000) or visit any hospital emergency department. 

Alternatively, you can call any of the support services below. These support services are available for a wide range of mental health support so wherever you are on your mental health journey, professionals are available to help. Make the call and seek the help you or your child need.  

Parents and carers: 

  • Head to Health (1800 595 212) a free confidential service to help connect you with the right services and keep you mentally healthy 
  • Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) to chat with a counsellor or connect with a peer support community 
  • Lifeline (13 11 14) for inclusive, non-judgemental and confidential support 
  • Mental Health Line (1800 011 511) a NSW state-wide phone service linking people to the right mental health support services. 
  • 13 YARN (13 92 76) A first national crisis support service for mob who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulties coping. 

Children and young people:

Young people are able to contact any of the above mental health support networks, or if they prefer a more tailored approach to mental health support, they can reach out to the following. 

Last updated Friday 9th February 2024