Around 4.5 million adult Australians (nearly 20% of the population) experience mental illness each year. What's more, over 45% of the adult population will have a mental illness at some point in their lives.
Mental health issues affect all of us, either directly or as a family member, carer, friend or workmate of a person with a mental illness.
The impact of mental health issues on both health and wellbeing can be severe. People with mental illness generally have poorer physical health, are more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs and to have higher rates of suicide. They are also more likely than the rest of the population to experience homelessness, be imprisoned, have their children placed in out-of-home care or be unemployed.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there is greater prevalence of mental health issues compared to the general population. Research indicates that 27% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience high or very high levels of psychological distress; twice the rate of the non-Indigenous population. Additionally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are hospitalised at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people for instances of self-harm.
How Red Cross helps
Red Cross works from a socially inclusive approach to remove the stigma around mental health issues, to provide mental health support services promote the participation of people with a mental illness in the community.
We recognise that mental health is a state of wellbeing. It is not just the absence of illness, but also the ability to maintain relationships, cope with stress, contribute to the community and enjoy life.
We work in collaboration with government, other service providers and communities to help improve the mental health of Australians.
Red Cross mental health programs
Mental health programs that promote health and wellbeing for young people
- save-a-mate (SAM)
Education and support on youth health issues, particularly alcohol and other drug use and mental health. Contact our ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic and WA teams to learn more
- SAM Our Way
Supporting locally design activities to provide education to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on health issues, particularly alcohol and other drug use and mental health. Contact our NT, Qld, SA and WA teams to learn more.
Talk OUT Loud
Mental health workshops to reduce stigma and encourage young people to seek help and help each other. Contact our NSW, Qld, SA, and WA teams to learn more
Mental health support services to build bridges back into the community
Download the Red Cross mental health brochure.
* These mental health services and programs receive funding from the Australian Government under the Commonwealth HACC Program. Although funding for these services has been provided by the Australian Government, the material contained on this website does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Australian Government.