The mental wellbeing of average Australians is lower now than during lockdown, according to new data.
The past few years have been eventful to say the least. After COVID arrived here in early 2020, many Australians spent the next two years going in and out of restrictive lockdowns.
Separated from family, friends and colleagues, wellbeing nosedived.
While the harsh lockdowns have ended, it appears the mental health of Australians hasn’t recovered and has, in fact, worsened.
The 2022-23 Australian Mental Wellbeing Index, compiled by mental health treatment and research group Smiling Mind in conjunction with KPMG, gave an overall wellbeing score for the nation of 48.6 – out of 100.
The result is almost one full point lower than at the same time last year.
The study examined 226,013 participants who completed over 880,000 individual surveys on their mental health and wellbeing.
The data revealed some concerning trends. More than 40 per cent said they had difficulty with focus and concentration; 41 per cent said they regularly experienced stress and 34 per cent were struggling with a lack of sleep.
You only need to look around to see why this may be the case.
Lockdown may be over, but the effects of COVID are still well and truly being felt. Adding to that burden is out-of-control inflation, soaring living costs, an energy crisis, yet another foreign war and successive interest rate rises.
The stress being faced by many Australians is likely the worst they’ve ever experienced, or at least the worst for decades.
Andrew Dempster, KPMG mental health advisory lead, told the Herald Sun it’s feeling like you have no input into the outcomes in your life that leads to the greatest distress.
“With the background of global political instability and some of the natural disasters that we are having on a very regular basis, there is a general feeling that people have limited control in the broader environment,” he says.
“What that means in the workplace … is if I’ve got to work today, do I as an individual have some control over when I do it, how I do it and the way it’s done?”
There were some positives in the data, such as the growing rate at which people are seeking professional help for mental health issues.
“It is evident that Australians’ mental wellbeing has remained relatively low over the past 12 months,” says Dr Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind.
“[But] it is promising to see the large number of Australians seeking out tools and strategies to proactively support their mental wellbeing.”
Would you say life was more or less stressful for you than a year ago? What is causing the stress in your life? Let us know in the comments section below.
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