Mental health issues widespread, survey finds

Half of 15,000 women surveyed reported being diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

jean hailes poll

Almost half of the 15,000 women who participated in Jean Hailes’ 2018 health survey had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a doctor or psychologist. And two thirds of women reported feeling nervous or anxious on at least seven days in the previous month.

The fourth annual survey is conducted by not-for-profit organisation Jean Hailes for Women’s Health; and with 60 per cent of the respondents aged 50 and over, the survey paints a grim picture for female retirees and those approaching retirement.

The survey also found that 23.9 per cent of the women could not afford to see a health professional when they needed one.

The survey supports YourLifeChoices’ 2018 Insights Survey which shows that healthcare costs and the ever-increasing costs of private cover are a key concern for older Australians.

Professor Danielle Mazza, head of Monash University’s department of general practice, told newsGP the fact that so many women could not access a doctor was particularly concerning.

“Almost one in four of these women couldn’t afford to see a health professional when they needed to. That’s a very disturbing finding, particularly relevant in the context of primary care and general practice who are the main providers of health services to women,” she said.

“This reinforces the need for comprehensive and accessible primary care services to address these physical and mental needs of women.”

One in five women said there were issues that they avoided discussing with their doctor. The top health issues they wanted to know more about were:

  • weight management (34.9 per cent)
  • healthy eating/nutrition (31.7 per cent)
  • mental and emotional health (29.3 per cent)
  • anxiety (28.3 per cent)
  • menopause (24.9 per cent).

Chris Enright, head of education and knowledge exchange for Jean Hailes, said the findings help to understand what women needed in order to lead healthy lifestyles.

“Our survey reflects that women worry about their health, particularly their weight, and getting enough time to themselves just to unwind, and 9.5 per cent of women drink alcohol every day,” she said, while noting that that number jumped to 13.7 per cent for women aged over 50 and to 23.8 per cent for those aged over 80.

Women in Western Australia were most likely to drink alcohol daily (11.8 per cent), followed by NSW (10.6 per cent) and Queensland (9.6 per cent).

There was also good news in the results. “Hardly any of the 15,000 women that we surveyed are regular smokers – in fact, 90 per cent hadn’t smoked in the past year. And half of women describe their health as very good or excellent,” she said.

In terms of physical activity, most women (70.3 per cent) reported doing at least two hours of moderate physical activity per week. Women aged 66 to 79 were the most likely to do at least two hours of moderate physical activity each week (75.6 per cent), and women aged 36 to 50 were the least likely (64.1 per cent).

Overall, women living in Victoria were the most likely to do at least two hours of physical activity each week (72 per cent) and women in Western Australia were the least likely (64.9 per cent).

 Have you experienced mental health issues? Was cost a factor in seeking help?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Sep 2018
    im battling severe depressive disorder and anxiety with suicidal ideations. I cant afford a psychologist the psych I see bulk bills but he is hard to get into see. I have cried out for help to life line etc but all they can do is talk . I dont qualify for ndis ( that's a story in itself ) I have my own health issues copd etc as well with an asd daughter so the worry of what is coming deepens the depression there is just the two of us now all our family here in Australia are dead mum died in march this year. do I have to swing from a bridge is that what it will take to wake the system up ??
    6th Sep 2018
    Hi, you probably know but your GP will have a list of psychologists who are prepared to work with you under the Allied Health Scheme. You are allocated 6 consultations, which are covered by Medicare, although some Psychologists will charge a small gap fee. It is difficult to get in to see them. If you were to talk to you GP as you have written your issues here, it should be a red light for him to refer you urgently. Good luck, and I hope you can get the help you need
    6th Sep 2018
    not in my area , my doc has tried

    6th Sep 2018
    Men suffer from these things at least as much as women do. Spare us the feminist bleating. Men have a lot more reason to be depressed.
    6th Sep 2018
    Try Vit D3 + Vit K2 sublingual after Breakfast plus Mega B.
    Magnesium Chelate 1000mg after evening meal and watch your depression etc melt away.

    My husband has Parkinson's and was very depressed, no get up and go and no motivation and put on weight - our GP was of no help and I went onto the Vit D Protocol to see if it would help me - after a week I felt great. I have put my husband on the same and he has lost 9 kilos in 3 months has tons of energy and motivation and feels the best he has in 6 years. And best of all NO depression - so no chemicals only natural vitamins and mineral!
    6th Sep 2018
    im on 100mg Zoloft which obviously isn't working so will try that
    7th Sep 2018
    Bridgit....Vitamins are better than drugs. It's been found that a poor diet can contribute to mental health issues. My autistic young friend takes magnesium and it helps them so much. Her parents can sleep at night now.

    6th Sep 2018
    Australians have too much pressure placed on them in a world of constant change and uncertainty. The media bombarding us with its toxic news 24/7 contributes toward depression. Drugs are not the cure they numb the problem temporarily. It's sad that Australia has changed so much. It used to be a classless country where milk, bread, food, education and health was the same for all. Now its all been divided up by class. The best goes to the rich and the least to the poor. This rot set in by our Governments after Whitlam was thrown out.
    6th Sep 2018
    carers of family not recognised as workers and paid 3.50 an hour , mine has all gone to pay the rent and we live off daughters disablity pittance. 300.00 for special shoes etc etc etc not in with the ndis yet still waiting.
    7th Sep 2018
    Well to spare anyone the misery of womanhood, thus its many setbacks and burdens, maybe a sex change or at the very least a stab at cross dressing, dyking or the nunnery. At least marriage to the good lawd should see y'all waited on as you so rightly deserve.

    Failing all else - get a dirty little dawg or at the very least - a life. Don't, under any circumstances, waste your time with any man. Problem fixed.
    8th Sep 2018
    Money probs/divorce settlements??
    8th Sep 2018
    And yes agree cost of any medical/dentaltreatment is prohibitive & i work! Tests of any sort are way out of reach (can't afford health insurance either). I'll just have to be put on the scrap heap or euthanased if i end up with anything terminal because cost of all this makes it all unaccessible to me.

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