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Mental health in New Zealand

Like physical health problems, mental health problems are very common.

Nearly half the population will meet the criteria for a mental illness diagnosis at some stage during their lives, and one in five of us will experience depression in any given year.

In 2015, the New Zealand Sovereign Wellbeing Index found that:

  • 25% of New Zealanders reporting having a high level of mental wellbeing
  • 21% of us almost at that level - but that means a little over half of us are not experiencing the best mental wellbeing health we could.

The 2014/15 New Zealand Health Survey reported:

  • An estimated 636,000 adults (17%) have been diagnosed with a mood disorder and/or anxiety disorder at some time in their lives (including depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder).
  • 225,000 (6.2%) of adults reported experiencing mental distress in the previous four weeks (including anxiety, confused emotions, depression or rage).

All this costs – the direct and indirect cost of mental ill-health is estimated to exceed 4% of GDP.

For more information about the mental health status of New Zealand’s population see the Mental Health Foundation's quick facts and statspage.

"You’re not alone if life is really hard for you at the moment. Anxiety and depression are really common in New Zealand. One in five of us are going to experience it this year. But it is different for everyone…"

Sir John Kirwan

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