One in six adults diagnosed with common mental disorder at some time in their lives

Mental illness is common, but can severely impact on people’s lives. The 2016/17 New Zealand Health Survey found that:

  • One in six New Zealand adults had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives. This includes depression, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders.
  • Nearly 8 percent of adults had experienced psychological distress in the past four weeks..
  • Mental disorders as a group are the third-leading cause of health loss for New Zealanders. Measuring health loss includes risk of illness, disability, and early death..
  • Females are more likely to experience a common mental disorder than males, regardless of age..
  • The highest rates of common mental disorder were from 35 to 44 years of age for women and from 45 to 55 years of age for men..
  • Adults aged 75 years and over were the only age group for which rates of psychological distress have stayed consistently low (around 4%) since 2011/12..
  • Māori and Pacific have higher rates of being diagnosed with mental disorders or experiencing psychological distress than the rest of the population. Mental health service use by Māori is rising..
  • People living in the most socio-economically deprived areas were nearly three times more likely to experience psychological distress as people living in the least deprived areas – after adjusting for age, sex and ethnicity.