We’re also highlighting a fifth NCD with an increasing impact on Australian health statistics – mental health conditions and disorders.
A recent study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that more than 20 per cent of Australians were living with a mental health or behavioural condition.
It’s also important to highlight that there’s evidence linking other modifiable behavioural factors, like physical inactivity and excess alcohol consumption, with the development of mental health disorders.
Similarly, mental health conditions may present alongside – and interact with – other NCDs. For example, evidence suggests that depression is a significant factor in the development of heart disease.
When it comes to acknowledging the role that mental health plays in our wellbeing, AIA Vitality Ambassador Dr Jaime Lee sees this as a vital step in our collective journey to better lives. “Our mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical wellbeing,” she explains. “On a cultural and societal level, talking about mental health has been stigmatised historically. It’s time to change that.”
So, how do we break this stigma? “For our country to shift the conversation around mental health, it’s going to take a collective effort,” Lee says. “It’s going to take cooperation, coordination and compassion from everybody: parents, teachers, doctors, government leaders, healthcare providers, insurance companies – the whole country.”