Awareness of mental illness is growing in Australia. But with prevailing misconceptions and general associations of stigma, more is required to better educate society on how common and debilitating these often silent illnesses can be.
Did you know that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide? Here in Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of those aged 16-85 have experienced a mental disorder at some point in their life1. A significant percentage of these disorders relate to anxiety and depression, which affect around 2 million and 1 million Australians each year respectively2.
While many of these conditions could be treated effectively, only about a third of people (34.9 per cent) with a mental health disorder report using health services for their mental health problem3.
This highlights the enormous opportunity for people with mental illnesses to improve the quality of their lives by taking action.
Mental illness can be highly treatable
Treatments for mental illnesses can vary significantly, but many can improve both mental and physical wellbeing. For example, some of the common treatments for depression are:
- Psychological treatments to change negative thinking patterns (e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy)
- Medical treatments to help moderate episodes of severe depression (e.g. antidepressant medication)
- Lifestyle changes to help reduce stress and boost your self-esteem (e.g. improving diet/exercise habits and reducing consumption of caffeine/alcohol).
Every person is different, so an important part of the treatment process is learning about an individual condition and gaining the knowledge and tools to manage it successfully.
What support is available?
If you think someone you know suffers from mental illness, these websites may be able to help:
You can’t predict, but you can protect
Although you can’t predict the future, you can protect your clients against the financial impact of unexpected mental illnesses with the right type and level of insurance cover.
Our claims team is here to work with you to work towards the best outcome for your clients. They’re with you from start to finish and can personalise the communication process to suit your needs – let us know how we can work with you. We also request information up front and offer tele services for income protection and trauma claims to ensure they are processed faster.
In 2014, OnePath paid over $100 million in income protection benefits to 2,955 Australians. A significant percentage of these claims (19 per cent of female claims and 11 per cent of male claims) related to psychiatric conditions.