Public recognition of mental disorders and beliefs about treatment: changes in Australia over 16 years
Nicola J. Reavley, Anthony F. Jorm
  • Declaration of interest




A 1995 Australian national survey of mental health literacy showed poor recognition of disorders and beliefs about treatment that differed from those of health professionals. A similar survey carried out in 2003/4 showed some improvements over 8 years.


To investigate whether recognition of mental disorders and beliefs about treatment have changed over a 16-year period.


A national survey of 6019 adults was carried out in 2011 using the same questions as the 1995 and 2003/4 surveys.


Results showed improved recognition of depression and more positive ratings for a range of interventions, including help from mental health professionals and antidepressants.


Although beliefs about effective medications and interventions have moved closer to those of health professionals since the previous surveys, there is still potential for mental health literacy gains in the areas of recognition and treatment beliefs for mental disorders. This is particularly the case for schizophrenia.

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