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Improving the mental health of the population: where to next?

Anthony F Jorm
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (1): 23-24. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00509

The need for a national strategy on preventing mental disorders

During the 1990s, two national surveys were carried out in Australia that were very influential in guiding thinking about population mental health. The first was the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, which showed that mental disorders were common, disabling and undertreated.1 The second was the National Survey of Mental Health Literacy, which showed that many members of the public had negative views of the standard psychiatric treatments that were endorsed as effective by clinical practice guidelines and mental health clinicians.2,3

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  • Anthony F Jorm

  • Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: ajorm@unimelb.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

I am supported by National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Fellowship 566652.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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  • 2. Jorm AF, Korten AE, Jacomb PA, et al. “Mental health literacy”: a survey of the public's ability to recognise mental disorders and their beliefs about the effectiveness of treatment. Med J Aust 1997; 166: 182-186. <MJA full text>
  • 3. Jorm AF, Korten AE, Jacomb PA, et al. Helpfulness of interventions for mental disorders: beliefs of health professionals compared with the general public. Br J Psychiatry 1997; 171: 233-237.
  • 4. Andrews G, Issakidis C, Carter G. Shortfall in mental health service utilisation. Br J Psychiatry 2001; 179: 417-425.
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  • 7. Jorm A. The population impact of improvements in mental health services: the case of Australia. Br J Psychiatry 2011; 199: 443-444.
  • 8. Jorm AF, Reavley NJ. Changes in psychological distress in Australian adults between 1995 and 2011. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2012; 46: 352-356.
  • 9. Page A, Taylor R, Martin G. Recent declines in Australian male suicide are real, not artefactual. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2010; 44: 358-363.
  • 10. Jacka FN, Reavley NJ, Jorm AF, et al. Prevention of common mental disorders: what can we learn from those who have gone before and where do we go next? Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2013; 47: 920-929.

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