Australian Health Issues Investigation

Australian Health Issues Investigation 2| Health Studies| Bonnie DellWord Count: 1,896| | | | 1) Define the issue: Mental Health can be described as a person’s sense of psychological wellbeing. It is the capacity to live in a resourceful and fulfilling manner, and having the resilience to deal with the challenges and obstacles life presents. (What is mental health? , 2006) A mental illness or problem is a health problem that significantly affects the way a person behaves, thinks and feels.

Mental illnesses are of many different types and severity. Some of the major types are: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bipolar mood disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Some of the causes, or risk factors, of mental illness include: long-term and acute stress, biological factors such as genetics, chemistry and hormones, use of alcohol, drugs and other substances, cognitive patterns such as constant negative thoughts and low self-esteem or social factors such as isolation, financial problems, family breakdown or violence.

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These risk factors can be minimised by: getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, talking about or expressing ones feelings, exercising regularly, spending time with friends and loved ones, developing new skills, relaxing and enjoying hobbies, setting realistic goals or by talking to your GP or a health professional. (Government of Western Australia, 2010) 2) Relevant Data: The impact of mental illness within the Australian population has become increasingly apparent. In 2007, 45% of Australians aged 16-85 years, (or 7. 3 million people), had at some point in their lifetime experienced a mental disorder.

Within that particular survey, women were more likely than men to have had symptoms of mental illness. A higher rate of anxiety disorders among women was the main contributor to this difference. (Feature article 2: mental health, 2013) PROPORTION OF PEOPLE AGED 16-85 WITH A MENTAL DISORDER According to Mental health FAQ (2013) women were more likely than men to have experienced symptoms of a mental disorder during the previous twelve-months (22% of women compared to 18% of men) and young women reported the highest rates (30% for those women aged 16 to 24).

Women were more likely than men to report the symptoms of anxiety disorders during the previous twelve-months (18% of women compared to 11% of men). Women were also more likely to report affective disorders, such as depression (7% of women compared with 5% of men). Men were more than twice as likely to report the symptoms of substance use disorders (7% of men compared with 3% of women). Young men reported the highest rate of substance use disorder, 16% for those men aged 16-24. Mental health disorders were identified as the underlying cause of 6,522 registered deaths in 2009, representing 4. % of all registered deaths in Australia in that year. In total, 21,384 deaths were due to, or associated with, mental health disorders. The prevalence of mental health disorders as an underlying cause has increased significantly over the last ten years. In 2009, the standardised death rate for mental health disorders was 25. 2 per 100,000 of population, an increase from 16. 5 per 100,000 population in 2000. In 2009, more than half the deaths due to mental health disorders were females (4,130 or 63%). The median age at death was higher for females at 88. 9 years, compared with 84. years for males. (Health status, 2012) 3) Health Outcomes: Physical| Social| Emotional| -Eating disorders (weight loss/weight gain)-Death -Violence-Self harm-Harm to others-Lower life expectancy| -Family breakdown-Loss of friendships-Bullying-Relationship breakdown-Financial costs-Homelessness| -Frustration -Shame -Helplessness -Humiliation-Anxiety-Depression-Isolation-Stress-Exhaustion-Low self-esteem-Fear-Guilt -Anger| 4) Stakeholders: Stakeholders in mental health are people or groups with an interest in defining and /or responding to people with mental health problems.

For example, State and territory governments and the Australian Government have committed to improving the mental health of Australians through the National Mental Health Strategy and the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) National Action Plan on Mental Health. The broad aims of the National Mental Health Strategy are to: promote the mental health of the Australian community and, where possible, prevent the development of mental disorders reduce the impact of mental disorders on individuals, families and the community assure the rights of people with mental disorders.

The COAG plan is directed at achieving four outcomes: reducing the prevalence and severity of mental illness in Australia, reducing the prevalence of risk factors that contribute to the onset of mental illness and prevent longer term recovery, increasing the proportion of people with an emerging or established mental illness who are able to access the right health care and other relevant community services at the right time, with a particular focus on early intervention, increasing the ability of people with a mental illness to participate in the community, employment, education and training, including through an increase in access to stable accommodation. The National Healthcare Agreement and the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement also provide additional guidance on government action to be taken and have specific implications for mental health care. (Mental health services in Australia, 2007–08) There are also organisations like The Butterfly Foundation (eating disorders) and Beyond Blue (depression) that provide information and support on a particular mental illness.

There are a wide variety of different stakeholders for mental health, including: Individuals and families with mental illnesses, nursing homes, psychiatric institutions, GP’s, schools, hospitals, and community health centres. Each of these stakeholders either advocate for the issue, plan or implement policy, provide funding or research, provide a service, or have knowledge about mental health. 5) Issue importance to the government and community: The National Health Priority Areas (NHPAs) are diseases and conditions that Australian governments have chosen for focused attention because they contribute significantly to the burden of illness and injury in the Australian community. (National health priority areas, 2013) As mental health is one of these priority areas, the Australian government believes that the issue is of great importance.

Governments across the nation have put strategic plans in place such as the COAG plan, the Western Australia mental health commission, the Victorian carer support fund, the Queensland plan for mental health and many more. Each of these organisations/plans strives to achieve these goals: promotion, prevention and early intervention, improving and integrating the care system, participation in the community, coordinating care, and providing information. As the prevalence of mental health/illness is increasing, the importance of the issue to the government and community will continue to increase also. 6) Are there health inequities in relation to this issue? Inequalities exist in the health of Australians across a range of health status indicators, including mortality, morbidity, life and health expectancy and self-perceived health.

Inequalities also exist in factors associated with health, including health risk factors; health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours; and use of health and preventative services. These inequalities exist across a range of social, economic and cultural measures, the most significant and persistent being education level, occupation, income, employment status, refugee background, disability, aboriginality and area-based measures of socioeconomic disadvantage. (Health inequalities, 2005) The major inequities within the issue of mental health are cultural factors and low socioeconomic status. “The poorer one’s socioeconomic conditions are, the higher one’s risk is for mental disability and psychiatric hospitalization,” said author Christopher G. Hudson, Ph. D. , of Salem State College.

This was found regardless of what economic hardship or type of mental illness the person suffered. Studies have shown that people of lower socio-economic status have a higher prevalence of mental disorders, particularly depression and certain anxiety disorders. This is majorly due to financial hardship and psychological stress. Cultural factors, such as language, age, gender, and others, can influence the mental health of people of different ethnicities, particularly immigrants. Different cultures and religions have different values on mental health and this can greatly impact the diagnosis or even treatment of a mental illness. 7) What is being done or can be to improve health outcomes?

In July 2006, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the National Action Plan on Mental Health 2006-2011, recognising the need for a change in the way governments respond to mental illness. The Plan provided a strategic framework that emphasised coordination and collaboration between government, private and non-government providers, aimed at building a more connected system of health care and community supports for people affected by mental illness. The Action Plan outlined a series of initiatives to be implemented between 2006 and 2011, described in Individual Implementation Plans prepared by each government. A total of 145 separate initiatives were described in the Individual Implementation Plans, with a combined value of $4. 1 billion. Council of Australian Governments National Action Plan for Mental Health, 2006-2011) Prevention research centres, universities and other institutions, along with programme managers and practitioners, have generated evidence showing that preventive interventions and mental health promotion can influence risk and protective factors and reduce the incidence and prevalence of some mental disorders. There’s no certain way to prevent mental illness. However, if you do have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost low self-esteem may help keep your symptoms under control. Get enough rest, eat healthily, exercise regularly, reduce stimulants, find alternative ways of doing things and share your thoughts, whether it be with friends, family, the local GP, a community health worker or a psychiatrist. These steps can be taken to help prevent a mental illness, but also help to treat a mental illness.

Treatment means all the different ways in which someone with a mental illness can get help to minimise the effects of the illness. It can involve medication, individual therapy and various supports in the community, as well as people with the mental illness helping themselves. (Treatments for mental illness, 2010) 8) What support networks exist? Overall, services for people with mental health care needs continue to show a steady increase. Mental health-related services are provided in Australia in a variety of ways—from hospitalisation and other residential care, hospital-based outpatient services and community mental health care services through to consultations with both specialists and general practitioners (GPs).

The Australian Government assists in this service provision by subsidising consultations, other medical and certain allied health services, and prescribed medications through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). State and territory governments also provide funding and are responsible for the delivery of services. Government assistance is also provided for broader needs such as accommodation support. (Mental health services in Australia, 2007-08) There are numerous support groups available in all states across Australia. A support group is a small group of people with a particular condition, such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, who meet regularly to discuss their experiences, their problems and their strategies for coping.

A support group can provide the following gains: show you that you are not alone, help develop new skills in relating to others, permit you to ‘open up’ and discuss your situation and feelings, give practical skills and advice – such as how to draw up and stick to a treatment plan, provide new coping strategies – share your solutions and learn from others’ experience, offer a safe place to sound off about frustrations of living with a disorder, supply strategies for managing any stigma associated with your disorder and strengthen motivation to stick with a treatment plan. (Black dog institute, 2013) These support groups can not only benefit the person suffering from a mental illness, but those around them also. 9) Individual Reflection: I chose the topic of mental health for my investigation project. I chose this topic because I thought it would be challenging, interesting and not a common topic other people would choose.

I found that there is a lot more information about mental health that I initially thought, it is now an issue of great importance and people around Australia are realising this. This is great because I believe there needs to be a lot more awareness about mental health within society. Honestly, I lacked motivation to really get stuck into this project because we had so much time to do it. This resulted in me not starting it until I really had to, and I then stressed about not finishing it on time. Once I got stuck into the project I was fine, I found it interesting and I learnt a lot. I know that in future I need to start my projects earlier, even if I have weeks to do it, as I tend to get really nxious and stressed out! 10) References: AIHW. (2013). Mental health. Retrieved 15th June 2013 from: http://www. aihw. gov. au/mental-health/ AIHW. (2013). Mental health FAQ. Retrieved 16th June 2013 from: http://www. aihw. gov. au/mental-health-faqs/ AIHW. (2007-08). Mental health services in Australia. Retrieved 16th June 2013 from: http://www. aihw. gov. au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset. aspx? id=6442457209 AIHW. (2013). National health priority areas. Retrieved 21st June 2013 from: http://www. aihw. gov. au/national-health-priority-areas/ Australian bureau of statistics. (2013). Health status. Retrieved 4th June 2013 from: http://www. abs. ov. au/ausstats/[email protected] nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301. 0~2012~Main %20Features~Health%20status~229 Australian bureau of statistics. (2013). Feature article 2: mental health. Retrieved June 12th 2013 from: http://www. abs. gov. au/AUSSTATS/[email protected] nsf/Lookup/1301. 0Chapter11082009%E2% 80%9310 Australian Government, department of health and ageing. (2006). Prevention and awareness of mental illness. Retrieved 23rd of June 2013 from: http://www. agedcareaustralia. gov. au/internet/agedcare/publishing. nsf/Content/ Prevention%20and%20awareness%20of%20mental%20illness Government of Western Australia. (2010).

What is mental health?. Retrieved 12th June 2013 from: http://www. mentalhealth. wa. gov. au/mental_illness_and_health/mh_whatis. aspx Hames, K. (2012). Council of Australian Governments National Action Plan for Mental Health 2006-2011. Retrieved 20th June 2013 from: http://www. coag. gov. au/sites/default/files/NAP%20on%20Mental%20Health%20- %20Fourth%20Progress%20Report. pdf Hudson, C. (2005). American psychological association. Retrieved 21st June 2013 from: http://www. apa. org/news/press/releases/2005/03/low-ses. aspx Sane Australia. (2010). Treatments for mental illness. Retrieved 23rd of June 2013 from:

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