Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Ongoing symptoms: Why isn't treatment for depression and anxiety leading to lower prevalence?

By Eric van Bemmel

Public health researcher Prof Tony Jorm asks why prevalence of anxiety and depression in North America, Australia and elsewhere has not decreased despite a quarter century of more and better treatment for two of the world's most common mental health problems.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

ERIC VAN BEMMEL

I'm Eric van Bemmel. Thanks for joining us. We've been taking mental health more seriously over the past few decades. In the developed world at least we've seen scaled up policy commitment and unprecedented levels of funding poured into treatment for people suffering from conditions like depression and anxiety. We know a lot more than we did 25 years ago about why people encounter mental health problems, about brain chemistry, about genetic predepositions to mental illness and about the power of life events to create conditions for bad or good mental health. We've also developed or improved therapeutic responses to mental health issues, whether drug or talk based, and understand better how to prevent onset of symptoms. But with all the evidence based policy-driven, well intentioned treatment being made available are we making a dent in the numbers of sufferers?

Our guest on this episode, one of Australia's leading population health researchers isn't convinced. Professor Tony Jorm says the numbers collected by him and colleagues in North America, Australia and elsewhere just don't add up. Tony Jorm leads the Population Mental Health Group within the Centre for Mental...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.