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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Indigenous mental distress alarmingly high

Date posted: 10 February 2012

Research published in the most recent issue of the Medical journal of Australia (6 February 2012) has pointed to the fact that rates of anxiety, depression and psychosis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may be much higher than previously recognised.

A review of surveys and publications in the medical literature showed rates of psychological distress among Indigenous people were 50% to three times higher than for non-Indigenous people.

Professor Anthony Jorm and colleagues from the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne found the rates of very high distress scores were 10-11%.

Another research study, examining treated psychosis in Indigenous people of Cape York and the Torres Strait, found a prevalence rate of 1.68% among an estimated population of nearly 16,000.

Commenting in an editorial, Northern Territory adjunct associate professor in psychiatry Robert Parker, from James Cook University, said the high rates described in the research 'represents a view of mental illness at the visible tip of an iceberg of significant social and health disadvantage'.

Source: Medical observer


Last updated: 21 June 2012
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