I should fit in well there then ?:D.

Mental illness data released
3.00pm Tuesday September 19, 2006

Nearly one in two New Zealanders will have some kind of mental disorder during their lives, says a major new study. The Ministry of Health interviewed nearly 13,000 people for its in-depth Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey, released at lunchtime today.

It found that 46 per cent of New Zealanders will meet the criteria for having a mental disorder at some time in their life. Some 20 per cent had a disorder in the last 12 months.

The Ministry assessed common mental disorders like anxiety disorders (like panic attacks, agoraphobia and generalised anxiety disorder), mood disorders (like depression, dysthymia and bipolar disorder), substance use disorders (alcohol or drugs) and eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia), but not psychotic disorders which are uncommon.

The survey covered the spectrum of severity from mild to serious. It used international diagnostic criteria, which, for depression, indicate the person would have to suffer symptoms, like low mood, poor sleep and low energy, for a fortnight or more.

Health Minister Pete Hodgson said New Zealand's results were at the high end of the range for other comparable countries. "We know in many instances people are either unaware they have a mental disorder or are able to cope quite well with the effects on their lives, but for a significant number of others these disorders have considerable impact."

The survey found that:

* Younger people have a higher prevalence of disorder in the past 12 months;

* Women are more prone to anxiety disorder, major depression and eating disorders but men are more prone to substance use disorders; and

* People who have low educational qualifications or low household incomes are more likely to suffer a disorder.

The survey was undertaken by The National Research Bureau, under contract to the Ministry of Health, in late 2003 and 2004.

It found that around 16 per cent of New Zealanders have thought seriously about suicide. About 5 per cent have made a suicide plan and 4 per cent have attempted suicide.

Women, young people and the poor are most likely to have considered suicide in the last year.

- NZHERALD STAFF