Skip to main content

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing includes our personal feelings and judgements about our lives, along with our responses to difficulties and any mental health challenges we face. Good mental wellbeing helps us to meet the demands of our daily lives, form positive relationships, and meet our goals. Mental wellbeing can be impacted by our physical wellbeing, but positive mental wellbeing also helps us to maintain our physical wellbeing.

Overall wellbeing

Rationale

Overall wellbeing combines how a person is generally feeling - for example, experiencing happiness or unhappiness - and their reflections on their life, such as satisfaction with life and sense of meaning or purpose. Improved physical health can lead to higher overall wellbeing, but changes in overall wellbeing can also impact physical health. Other factors that may affect overall wellbeing include financial habits, employment, family dynamics, social connection, and environmental factors.

Measure

Proportion of South Australians adults reporting good or better overall wellbeing:

Source: South Australian Population Health Survey (SAPHS)

  • Respondents (18+ years) were asked four questions relating to their wellbeing ‘Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?’, ‘Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?’, ‘Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?’, and ‘Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?’ For each of these questions, respondents gave a number between 0 and 10, where 0 meant not at all and 10 meant completely.
  • The four wellbeing questions were then used to categorise respondents into three groups: those with good wellbeing, those with poor wellbeing, and those who were neutral (Abdallah & Shah, 2012).
  • Respondents were considered to have good wellbeing if they scored well on all four questions. This was defined as a score of 8-10 for life satisfaction, life being worthwhile, feeling happy yesterday and 0-2 for feeling anxious yesterday.

Personal agency

Rationale

Personal agency is a sense that a person has control over decisions affecting their life. This is beneficial for overall wellbeing.

Measure

Proportion of South Australian adults reporting they feel they are in control of the decisions that affect their lives:

Source: Population Health Survey Module System (PHSMS)

  • Respondents (18+ years) were asked Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘I have control over the decisions that affect my life’. The proportion that responded 'strongly agree' or 'agree' were reported as being in control over the decisions that affect their lives.

Psychological distress

Rationale

When someone is experiencing psychological distress, their overall wellbeing is likely to be lower. Psychological distress may impact people’s ability to support their general wellbeing. For instance, people experiencing distress may exercise less. Individuals with low levels of healthy behaviours may also be at increased the risk of experiencing psychological distress. Chronic conditions, alcohol use, and lack of social connection can all contribute to psychological distress.

The South Australian Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017–2022 outlines strategies for mental health promotion, service improvements, and system governance.

Measure

Proportion of South Australian adults reporting psychological distress:

Source: South Australian Population Health Survey (SAPHS)

  • Respondents (18+ years) were measured for psychological distress using the Kessler-10 scale, whereby 10 questions were asked about the feelings the respondent had in the past four weeks, and how often they had those feelings. The answers to the 10 questions were then given a score between 1 and 5 with a higher score denoting a higher frequency of the negative feeling.
  • The question scores were then totalled to give an overall score between 10 and 50, and categorised into low (10-15), moderate (16-21), high (22-29), or very high (30-50) levels of psychological distress (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001). The proportion of respondents that were categorised into high or very high were reported as having psychological distress.

Mental health conditions

Rationale

Mental health conditions have a significant impact on the ability of Australians to live healthy and long lives. They negatively affect many other aspects of wellbeing including chronic conditions, employment, and homelessness.

The South Australian Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017–2022 outlines strategies for mental health promotion, service improvements, and system governance.

Measure

Prevalence of one or more mental health conditions in South Australian adults:

Source: South Australian Population Health Survey (SAPHS)

  • Respondents (18+ years) were asked if, in the past 12 months, they had been told by a doctor that they had anxiety, depression, stress, or any other mental health problem. If they responded yes to any of these, they were classified as having a mental health condition.

Secondary measure

Prevalence of one or more mental health conditions in South Australian children:

Source: South Australian Population Health Survey (SAPHS)

  • Respondents (5 to 15 years) via a parent/carer proxy were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or health professional that they had anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder, or any other mental health condition. If they responded yes to any of these, they were classified as having a mental health condition.

Receiving treatment for mental health conditions

Rationale

Mental health conditions as a group are one of the leading causes of ‘burden of disease’ in Australia, being responsible for 12% of all years of life, and years of healthy life, lost by Australians. Receiving treatment for mental health conditions is an important way to improve quality of life and increase wellbeing.

The South Australian Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017–2022 outlines strategies for mental health promotion, service improvements, and system governance.

Measure

Proportion of South Australian adults with one or more mental health conditions who are currently receiving treatment:

Source: South Australian Population Health Survey (SAPHS)

  • Respondents (18+ years) with a mental health condition were asked if they were currently receiving treatment for anxiety, depression, stress related problems or any other mental health problem.

Secondary measure

Proportion of presentations to South Australian public hospital emergency departments that have a principal diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorders:

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) - National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDCD)

  • Mental health related emergency department presentations that are included are those that had a principal diagnosis that fell within the mental and behavioural disorders chapter (Chapter 5) of ICD-10-AM (codes F00–F99) or the equivalent ICD-9-CM or SNOMED codes. It does not include codes for self harm or poisoning.

Suicidal ideation

Rationale

Wellbeing is one of many factors that can make people less likely to experience suicidal ideation. Aspects of wellbeing that are particularly beneficial include social connection, the absence of family violence, and fewer health conditions, while social determinants such as secure housing and financial security also play a preventive role. The South Australian Suicide Prevention Plan 2022-2025 is due for release in 2022 and outlines the Government of South Australia’s whole of community and whole of government approach to suicide prevention.

Measure

Proportion of South Australian adults considering suicide in the last 12 months:

Source: South Australian Population Health Survey (SAPHS)

  • Respondents (18+ years) were asked if, in the past 12 months, they had considered suicide.
  • All respondents were reminded they did not have to answer this question if they did not want to. All respondents were provided with various crisis phone numbers after this question, and again at the end of the survey.

Suicide

Rationale

Suicides are preventable deaths with broad impacts on individuals, families and the community.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for persons aged 15-44 years, however, people with higher wellbeing are less likely to die by suicide. Social connection, the absence of family violence, and experiencing fewer health conditions can decrease a person’s risk of dying by suicide, while secure housing and financial security are also protective factors.

The South Australian Suicide Prevention Plan 2022-2025 is due for release in 2022 and outlines the Government of South Australia’s whole-of-community and whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention.

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Plan (Commonwealth of Australia, 2017) selected Suicide Prevention as Priority Area 2, noting the importance of improving surveillance of suicide.

Measure

Number of potential and likely suicides in South Australia per year.

Technical notes

These data are not yet available.

The South Australian Suicide Registry became operational in December 2021 and will capture suicide data from 2019. Prospectively, initial case data are coded from preliminary information from the SA Coroner’s Court and clinical health information systems. Case data are finalised at the end of the coronial investigation process.

Was this page useful to you?

Useful