Socio Economic Status and Mental Illness

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between fifteen and fourty-four, with an average of three thousand every year. With roughly 4% of people experiencing a depressive episode, or 14% of people affected by an anxiety disorder within a twelve month period. When we look at these numbers it is alarming to find out how many of these deaths have the potential to be avoided if every Australian had the same access to health care treatment and facilities.

The ‘Closing the Gap’ campaign continues to help put an end to this. Indigenous Australians are however, still subject to a shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, lower levels of education and employment, and poorer health standards, which can all contribute to such high levels of depression and suicide among their families. When living in rural areas it can often take months for someone to receive treatment or the help they need and that often be too late.

Research shows that the proportion of people living with a mental illness are half as likely to access treatment, than those suffering a physical disorder. It is more important now more than ever to make sure we are looking out for ourselves, friends and family in this ever growing social media world, we can often get lost in how people portray themselves, and not how they really are.

The Black Dog Institute put out ‘Facts and figures about mental health’ document which you can read more by clicking here. Their research shows that 54% of people diagnosed with a mental illness are not accessing treatment. There is extensive knowledge surrounding exercise and mental health so it is important to remember that you don’t need a gym membership to be active and start helping yourself and those around you, if you are feeling depressed or anxious.

With this in mind we also need to consider how many people are left undiagnosed from mental illnesses and how there can be different levels of severity when it comes to living with depression, bi polar disease or other mental illnesses.

Suicide Prevention Australia and Anytime Fitness are currently holding their annual 24 hour treadmill challenge, which encourages all members of the community to ‘Step Up and Run for Suicide Prevention’. This event has done extremely well in promoting movement for a clear mind and healthy mental state.

Charles Sturt University student, Nicholas Armida, shared some of his experiences with mental health.