October 12, 2005

Australia - Mental Illness Common, Survey Suggests

Survey finds mental illness levels high

ACCORDING to a new survey from Mission Australia, 76 per cent of clients from its Personal Support Program (PSP) and 26 per cent of those participating in its Jobs Placement Employment and Training Program (JPET) -- both of which are Commonwealth Government funded employment programs managed by the organisation suffer mental illness.

The results are contained in a new publication Mental Health: A Critical Contemporary Issue to coincide with Mental Health Week (October 9 to 16).

Mission Australia surveyed staff who work with almost 3000 clients in 43 PSP and 13 JPET sites across Australia.

Both PSP and JPET are administered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR).

PSP is for job seekers on income support who face multiple non-vocational barriers to finding a job (eg: homelessness, drug and alcohol issues).

Around 45,000 Australians participated in PSP in 2004-05 nationally.

JPET is for young people, aged 15-21, who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and have barriers that affect their participation in education, training or employment.

Around 13,700 young Australians took part in JPET in 2002-03.

According to the survey, the most common mental illnesses among Mission Australia PSP/JPET clients were overwhelmingly anxiety disorders and depression, with 86 per cent of sites identifying these illnesses as amongst the three most common.

Other common illnesses included schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, drug-related disorders, traumatic stress disorder, personality and eating disorders.

Source: Mission Australia


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