Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in Australia

New research by beyondblue shows most people are unable to identify the most common mental health issue in Australia.

A survey reveals two in three Australians believe depression is the most common mental health condition in the country. Only 13 per cent correctly identified anxiety conditions as Australia’s most prevalent mental health issue.

“In any given year, more than two million Australians will experience anxiety, double the number who experience depression. One in four Australians will experience an anxiety condition at some stage in their life,” beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said.

“We all feel anxious sometimes, but when those feelings are long lasting, overwhelming and unusually focused on the worst case scenario, these can be signs of an anxiety condition.”

beyondblue has launched its new Know When Anxiety is Talking campaign, which is designed to assist people to recognise the symptoms of anxiety and seek support.

New research by beyondblue reveals that 37 per cent of those who sought professional support for anxiety had been experiencing symptoms for longer than 12 months before getting support. Almost one in five waited longer than six years.

“Imagine spending years of your life expecting the worst to happen every single day. Imagine the experiences you might have had, if you’d been receiving treatment and support and were managing your condition rather than dismissing it. Imagine the things you could achieve if you were in control of your anxiety, rather than anxiety being in control of you,” Ms Harman said.

“The point is you don’t have to wait or wonder. Support is available and research tells us that it works.”

Other findings from the survey of 1400 Australians include:

 93 per cent of those who had professional support found the support useful

 40 per cent didn’t seek help initially because they didn’t think their issues were serious enough

 23 per cent thought they would recover without support

 41 per cent of people think others believe anxiety is not a real medical condition

 One in three people endured symptoms for 12 months before recognising their problem as anxiety and a further one in six took six years or more to spot the signs.

The signs of anxiety include:

 Excessive worrying about things that could go wrong

 Racing mind that won’t calm down

 Feeling tense or on edge

 A racing heart

 Shallow or rapid breathing

 Sleeping problems

 Avoiding situations that make you feel anxious.

To learn more about anxiety, visit http://www.beyondblue.org.au/knowanxiety.

You can check your own anxiety; visit: www.beyondblue.org.au/anxietychecklist.

Mental health professionals are available at the beyondblue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3pm-12am AEST) or email responses within 24 hours.