A to Z Resource Finder

Search Quick Facts and Statistics

View
Topics
Asian, Children & Young People, Depression - General, Maori Mental Health, Older People, Pacific Peoples, Statistics, Corrections/Prisons, Primary Care, Refugee & Migrant Mental Health, Women's Mental Health
Type
Statistics
Publisher
Mental Health Foundation

General Prevalence of Mental Illness in New Zealand

Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey

Citation: Oakley Browne, M.  A., Wells, J.  E., & Scotts, K. M.  (Eds).  (2006).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health published the first national survey of mental health in the New Zealand population September 2006 . Te Rau Hinengaro is collaborating in the WMH Survey Initiative, which was developed out of the findings of the WHO Global Burden of Disease Study (Murray and Lopez 1996).  This study showed that mental and substance use disorders are among the most burdensome in the world, and this burden is projected to increase.  More than 28 countries are undertaking or have undertaken nationally or regionally respresentative surveys and are contributing to the intiative.

  • 47% of New Zealanders will experience a mental illness and/or an addiction at some time in their lives, with one in five people affected within one year.
  • Te Rau Hinenegaro confirms the Like Minds, Like Mine message that one in five (20.7%) of those people surveyed have experienced a mental disorder in the last 12 months. The survey also estimates that the lifetime risk (up to 75 years of age) of experiencing any common mental disorder such as depression, anxiety or an alcohol or drug disorder is 46.4%, namely nearly half of the population.
  • Mental disorder is common in New Zealand: 46.6% of the population are predicted to meet criteria for a disorder at some time in their lives, with 39.5% having already done so and 20.7% having a disorder in the past 12 months.
  • New Zealand has high prevalences of anxiety, mood and substance abuse disorders.
  • Younger people have a higher prevalence of disorder in the past 12 months and are more likely to report having ever had a disorder by any particular age.
  • Females have higher prevalences of anxiety disorder, major depression and eating disorders than males, whereas males have substantially higher prevalences for substance use disorders than females.
  • Prevalences are higher for people who are disadvantaged, whether measured by educational qualification, equivalised household income or using the small area index of deprivation (NZDep2001).
  • The prevalence of disorder in any period is higher for M?ori and Pacific people than for the Other composite ethnic group.
  • Comorbidity of mental disorders (the co-occurrence of two or more disorders) is common
  • There is also comorbidity between mental and physical disorder.

To access a summary of each chapter
To access the main summary document
To access a quick reference sheet for the media
To access the full document or download individual chapters


The Te Rau Hinengaro Report has an interesting section, highlighting prior information from other data sources and studies within New Zealand, the following summaries are taken from this section (pg14).  

With regards to the two main Dunedin and Christchurch longitudinal studies, it presents those rates relevant to prevalence rates in late adolescence (18 years), to complement the presentations of results from other surveys of adults.


Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (Longitudinal Study)

Study website

Is a longitudinal study of 1,037 children born in Dunedin's Queen Mary Hospital between April 1972 and March 1973 (Feehan et al 1994).   Participants continue to be interviewed at repeat intervals, the following brief summary is from when they were assessed at age 18.  These interviews included the DI, which provided DSM-III-R diagnoses.

  • The most prevalent disorders over the 12 months before interview were major depressive disorder (16.7%), alcohol dependence (10.4%) and social phobia (11.1%)

Christchurch Health and Development Study (Longitudinal Study)

Study website: http://www.chmeds.ac.nz/research/chds

Is a longitudinal study of 1,265 children born in the Christchurch urban region during a four-month period in mid-1977 (Horwood and Ferguson 1998).  Participants continue to be interviewed at repeat intervals, the following brief summary is from when they were assessed at age 18. They filled in a questionnaire that included the CIDI, which provided DSM-IV diagnosis for the period 16-18 years.

  • Over this period the most common disorders were substance use disorders (24%), mood disorders (22%) and anxiety disorders (17%).
  • Females had higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders than males; males had higher rates of substance use and conduct disorders than females.
  • Maori had significantly higher rates than non-Maori for anxiety disorders, conduct disorders and substance abuse disorders.
  • Less than a quarter of those meeting criteria for mental disorder had sought treatment.

Mental Health and General Practice Investigation 

Study website: http://www.otago.ac.nz/wsmhs/academic/psych/research/magpie.html

Is a study of the prevalence of types of common mental disorders among patients attending New Zealand general practices.

  • Based on CIDI interviews that generated DSM-IV diagnosises, the 12 month prevalence rates of general practice attendees were 11.3% for any substance use disorder, 18.1% for any depressive disorder and 20.7% for any anxiety disorder.
  • Depression and anxiety disorders were more common in females than males; substance use disorders were more common in males than females.  Rates of disorder were highest in people aged under 44 (MaGPie 2001, 2003).

New Zealand National Prison Study

Study website: http://www.corrections.govt.nz/public/research/psychiatricmorbidity/index.html

Explored the rates of disorder in a representative sample of prison inmates (Brinded et al 2001; Simpson et all 1999). The CIDI was used in interviews and provided DSM-IV diagnoses.

  • The results indicated marked markedly elevated prevalence rates for mental disorders in the prison population compared with the wider community.

New Zealand Health Survey 2002/03 (Survey)

Ministry of Health: www.moh.govt.nz

These are the results from the third national health survey (Ministry of Health 2004b.)  It was a representative national community survey in which all people aged 15 and older residing in permanent private dwellings were eligible for selection.  A total of 12, 929 person were interviewed face to face.  The self-reports in this health survey do not generate DSM or ICD diagnosis, so it is not possible to compare prevalence rates for DSM or ICD disorders.

  • Overall, 2.4% of the population reported having a serious mental disorder (ie, a depressive disorder, a bipolar disorder or schizophrenia).  Depressive disorders were the most common serious mental disorder (1.9%), followed by bipolar disorder (0.5%) and schizophrenia (0.2%). 

New Zealand Information Service Information

Website:  http://www.nzhis.govt.nz/

Through the NZHI Service it is possible to obtain information about outpatient and inpatient attendances at specialist mental health services (New Zealand Health Information Service 2004).  This information includes service contacts by age, sex and ethnicity.  Broad categories of source of referrals and types of services recieved are also provided. As this information does not include mental health visits at primary care, other general mental health services, all non-governmental organisations, or complementary or alternative medicine providers, it captures only a proportion of the services for people with mental disorders.  It is also not possible to calculate community prevalences rates from visits at specialists mental health services.

  • However, it is important to note that the information shows Maori males have the highest age-standardised contact rates compared with males from other ethnic groups.

Other key ongoing studies/surveys of interest include:

Youth 2000

Big Cities Project

The Social Report

Statistics New Zealand, Health including snapshot of disabilitites

Research Terminology Sheet

DSM-IV
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the American Psychiatric Association's offical classification systems for defining mental disorders.[i]

Lifetime Prevalence
Is the proportion of people known to have met criteria at some time in their lives before the interview.[ii]

Lifetime Risk
Is a projected estimate of the proportion of people in the population who would ever have experienced a disorder by the end of their lifetime or by a specified age such as 75 years.[iii]

Twelve-month Prevelance
Is the proportion of people to have ever met criteria for a disorder and to have experienced an episode of disorder or key symptoms in the 12 months before the interview.[iv]

Literature Review
A literature review is "a systematic, explicit, and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating and interpreting the existing body of recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners." (Fink, 1998, p.3) It is not simply a summary of the work you have read on a topic, but an analysis of the research that has been carried out on the topic. [v]

Epidemiology
The study of the distribution of diseases in populations and of factors that influence the occurrence of disease.  It is based on the observation that most diseases do not occur randomly, but are related to environmental and personal characteristics that vary by place, time, and subgroup of the population. The epidemiologist attempts to determine who is prone to a particular disease; where risk of the disease is highest; when the disease is most likely to occur and its trends over time; what exposure its victims have in common; how much the risk is increased through exposure; and how many cases of the disease could be avoided by eliminating the exposure.[vi]

Longitudinal Study
A longitudinal study is a correlational research study that involves observations of the same items over long periods of time, often many decades. Longitudinal studies are often used in psychology to study developmental trends across the life span. The reason for this is that unlike cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies track the same people, and therefore the differences observed in those people are less likely to be the result of cultural differences across generations. Longitudinal studies are also used in medicine to uncover predictors of certain diseases.[vii]



[i] (2006).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The Mental Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health, 18.

[ii] (2006).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The Mental Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health, 19.

[iii] Oakley-Brown, M. A., Wells, E., Scott, K.  M., & McGee, M.  A. (2006).  Lifetime prevalence and projected lifetime risk of DSM-IV disorders in Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health SurveyAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 40, 865-874. [p.866]  

[iv] (2006).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The Mental Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health, 19.

[v] Unitec Library Website, ‘The Literature Review', viewed  28 January 2007

[vi] Answers.com Website, viewed 28 January 2007.

[vii] Answers.com Website, viewed 28 January 2007.

 

Top

Depression

Depression is common. It's a global experience - the World Health Organisation predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second highest cause of death and disability in the world.

The links below will take you to facts and statistics about different aspects of depression in New Zealand.

Depression - Prevalence of Depression


 

According to the New Zealand Mental Health Survey released September 2006, within the mood disorders, major depressive episode is the most prevalent disorder with an overall lifetime prevalence rate of 16.0%.

Oakley-Brown, M. A., Wells, E., Scott, K.  M., & McGee, M.  A. (2006).  Lifetime prevalence and projected lifetime risk of DSM-IV disorders in Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health SurveyAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 40, 865-874. [p.867]  


 

According to a New Zealand study one person in every eight (12.6% of the population) will have a Major Depressive Episode in their lifetime.

Christchurch Epidemiology study in 1986 Wells et al (1989), 320.


According to a New Zealand study one person in every sixteen (6.4% of the population) will experience Dysthymic Disorder (a chronic low grade depression that occurs over a period of two years).

 Christchurch Epidemiology study in 1986 Wells et al (1989), 320.



According to a New Zealand study one in five females (19.4% of the female population) and one in ten males (10% of the male population) are likely to experience a depressive disorder.

Christchurch Epidemiology study in 1986 Wells et al. (1989), 321.


For both males and females the rates of depression are increasing with each birth cohort and the age of onset is becoming lower.

Joyce, P., Oakley-Browne, M., Wells, E., Bushnell, J. and Hornblow, A.(1990).   Birth cohort trends in major depression: increasing rates and earlier onset in New Zealand. Journal of Affective Disorders, 18, 85.


Depression - Maori


Mason Durie states that despite the availability of hospital data, there is no empirical data about the prevalence of depression within Maori communities, nor have the impacts of Maori culture on the manifestations of depression been subjected to a thorough analysis.

Durie, Mason (2001) Mauri Ora: the dynamics of Maori health.  Auckland: Oxford University Press.


In the Youth 2000 survey, the Maori specific findings found that most male taitamariki [Maori youth] (58.7%) were generally in a good mood, while most female taitamariki [Maori youth] (59.2%) reported feeling generally up and down.  Female taitamariki were about twice as likely as males to have significant depressive symptoms (females 22.7%, males 9.9%) as measured by the RADS depression scale

University of Auckland. Adolescent Health Research Group. (2004).  Te Ara Whakapili Taitamariki: Maori specific findings of Youth2000: A national secondary school youth health survey. Auckland, N.Z.: University of Auckland, pg 47.


Of those visiting a GP, Maori are three times more likely than non-Maori to be experiencing a depressive disorder.

MaGPIe Research Group. (2005) Mental disorders among Maori attending their general practitioner.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39, 401-406.


Research revealed 55 per cent of Maori women visiting their G.P had a depressive disorder compared with 19 per cent of non-Maori women.  

MaGPIe Research Group. (2005) Mental disorders among Maori attending their general practitioner.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39, 401-406.


Depression - Primary Care


In a G.P setting over one third of patients had experienced a DSM-IV diagnostic disorder in the 12 months prior to the consultation.  One in five had experienced an anxiety disorder, nearly one in five a depressive disorder, and more than one in ten a substance abuse use disorder.

Bushnell, J. (2003, April).  The nature and prevalence of psychological problems in New Zealand primary healthcare: a report on Mental Health and General Practice Investigation (MaGPIe). New Zealand Medical Journal, 116(1171), 9.


In a G.P setting depression much more common in females than males (21.6% vs. 12.1%).

Bushnell, J. (2003, April).  The nature and prevalence of psychological problems in New Zealand primary healthcare: a report on Mental Health and General Practice Investigation (MaGPIe). New Zealand Medical Journal, 116(1171), 10.


A study taken across 15 general practices in New Zealand found that the use of two verbally asked questions about depressed mood (during the past month have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless? And, during the past month have you often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?) would detect most cases of depression in general practice.  The questions have the advantage of brevity.  As treatment is more likely when doctors make the diagnosis, these questions may have even greater utility.

Bruce Arroll, Natalie Khin and Ngaire Kerse (2003, November) Screening for depression in primary care with two verbally asked questions: cross sectional study.  British Medical Journal, 327: 1144-1146.


In a G.P setting depression much more common in females than males (21.6% vs. 12.1%).

Bushnell, J. (2003, April).  The nature and prevalence of psychological problems in New Zealand primary healthcare: a report on Mental Health and General Practice Investigation (MaGPIe). New Zealand Medical Journal, 116(1171) 10.


A study suggests that the rates of depressed patients in general practice in New Zealand are almost certainly higher than has been previously measured and are similar to those found overseas.  In the group as a whole there was a higher rate of depression in those with a community services card, women and those who were divorced or separated compared with those who were married or in a de-facto relationship.

Arroll, B et al (2003?) Prevalence of depression in patients and guardians in an Auckland general practice. Departments of General Practice and Primary Health Care and Psychiatry and Behavioural Science, University of Auckland.


In the depression in patients in an Auckland general practice study 77% (27/35) of patients found to be depressed were female, with a median age of 40 years (range 18-70).

Arroll, B (2002, April) Depression in patients in an Auckland general practice. NewZealand Medical Journal,  26 April 2002. Pg 177.


The MaGPie study of general practices found that the three most common mental disorders were depressive, anxiety and substance use disorders.  These disorders were more common among younger than older attenders, and co morbidity was high.  One in five had experienced an anxiety disorder, nearly one in five a depressive disorder, and more than one in ten a substance use disorder. Depression was also much more common in females than males.

MaGPie Research Group. (2003, April) The nature and prevalence of psychological problems in New Zealand primary healthcare: a report on Mental Health and General Practice Investigation (MaGPie). New Zealand Medical Journal, 116(1171), 9.


A NZ study looked at the effect of medical students own emotions on perceptions of patients’ affective status.  It was found perceptions were widely different and often inappropriate of patients’ levels of anxiety and depression.  Students who consistently overrated anxiety or depression in patients, compared to those who consistently underrated, were themselves significantly more anxious or depressed.  This data suggested a need in medical education for systematic teaching of empathic skills and for recognition of potential bias in clinical decision making arising from the clinician’s own emotional state.

Hornblow A, Kidson M & Ironside W. (1988, January) Empathic processes: perception by medical students of patients’ anxiety and depression. Medical Education, 22(1), 15-8.


Depression - Youth Depression


Female secondary students were twice as likely as male (males 9.0%, females 18.3%) to report levels of depressive symptoms that are considered to be serious and in need of professional assistance.

University of Auckland. Adolescent Health Research Group. (2003) New Zealand Youth: a profile of their health and wellbeing. Early findings of Youth2000 (Health), A national secondary school youth health survey. Auckland, N.Z.: University of Auckland, p32. 


In the Youth 2000 survey, the Maori specific findings found that most male taitamariki [Maori youth] (58.7%) were generally in a good mood, while most female taitamariki [Maori youth] (59.2%) reported feeling generally up and down.  Female taitamariki were about twice as likely as males to have significant depressive symptoms (females 22.7%, males 9.9%) as measured by the RADS depression scale.

University of Auckland. Adolescent Health Research Group. (2004). Te Ara Whakapili Taitamariki: Maori specific findings of Youth2000: A national secondary school youth health survey. Auckland, N.Z.: University of Auckland, p47.


A study of emotional resilience (risk and protective factors) among alternative education students in New Zealand found that over 25% of students had levels of depressive symptoms that indicated a higher likelihood of significant psychopathology from depression.  Multivariate analysis demonstrated that family and peer connections were protective against depression.  High levels of poverty, witnessing violence at home, and experiencing bullying at school were all significant risk factors for depression.

Denny S, Clark T, Flemming T, Wall M. (2004, April) Emotional resilience: risk and protective factors for depression among alternative education students in New Zealand American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74(2),137-49.


Longitudinal data was analysized to examine the extent to which young people with  depression in mid adolescence (ages 14-16) were at increased risk of adverse psychosocial outcomes in later adolescence and young adulthood (16-21).  It was concluded that young people having early depression were at an increased risk of later adverse psychosocial outcomes (educational underachievement, unemployment and early parenthood).  There was a direct linkage in which early depression was associated with increased risk of later major depression and anxiety disorders.  Linkages between early depression and other outcomes appeared to reflect the effects of compounding factors.

Fergusson, D., & Woodward, L. (2002, March). Mental health, educational and social role outcomes of adolescents with depressionArchives of General Psychiatry, 59(3), 225-31. 


A New Zealand study looked at life course outcomes of young people with anxiety disorders in adolescence.  It concluded that in agreement with existing research their present findings suggest that anxiety-disordered adolescents have elevated rates of anxiety and depression as young adults.

Woodward L & Fergusson. (2001, September). Life course outcomes of young people with anxiety disorders in adolescenceJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(9), 1086-1093.


Depression - Pacific Peoples


There is limited research on the NZ Pacific population; however the Ministry of Health provide some prevalence estimates based on various NZ studies. They estimate that 16,000 Pacific people could expect to experience one or more mental illness during a given six-month period.  The most common disorders are likely to be mood disorders and generalised anxiety, which could be expected to affect approximately 11,000 people and are likely to be more prevalent in women.  If we were to include conditions associated with alcohol and drugs, the six-month prevalence rate of 16 percent would increase to 23 percent.  Alcohol and drug-use disorders are expected to affect approximately 11,000 Pacific peoples over a given six-month period.  It has been widely reported that men – particularly young men – have high rates of disorders associated with alcohol and drug use. 

Ministry of Health. (2005). Te Orau Ora: Pacific Mental Health Profile Wellington: Ministry of Health.


Depression - Older People


A NZ study of 217 older men who completed a self-report questionnaire, between 65-89, showed that the most significant relationship to depression was that of loneliness, with lonelier men reporting higher scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Although research suggests that depression is often a response to declining health and functional impairment in the older adult, the present findings suggest that social isolation may also influence the experience of depression.  Age-related losses such as loss of professional identity, psychical mobility, and the inevitable loss of family and friends can affects a person’s ability to maintain relationships and independence, which in turn may lead to a higher incidence of depressive symptoms.

Alpass, F. (2003, May). Loneliness, health and depression in older malesAging and Mental Health, 7(3), 212-216.


Melding suggests that reliable New Zealand data for those over the age of 65 is lacking as this age group has been generally excluded from epidemiological research in New Zealand.  With findings from other western countries suggest one-month prevalence of major depression in those over the age of 65 to be in the range of 0.7 to 2.9% and less severe forms of depression to range from 2 to 13%.

Melding, P. S. (1997).  Older Adults, In PM Ellis & SCD Collings (ed) Mental health in New Zealand from a public health perspective (pp 164-183). Wellington, N.Z.: Ministry of Health.

Depression - Women


According to the New Zealand Mental Health Survey released September 2006, females have higher prevalences than males for major depressive disorder (20.3% vs 11.4%) and dysthymia (2.6% vs 1.6%).

Oakley-Brown, M. A., Wells, E., Scott, K.  M., & McGee, M.  A. (2006).  Lifetime prevalence and projected lifetime risk of DSM-IV disorders in Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health SurveyAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 40, 865-874. [p.867] 


Two out of every five women who responded to a magazine survey on women’s health have been diagnosed with clinical or postnatal depression.  Half believed they had been cured.  More than 30 per cent said they did not get adequate support for depression and ranked their partners below their doctor, close friends and family in that respect.  The Next survey received 4720 responses from women.  Forty-three per cent were aged under 40 and 71 per cent were under 50.

Schumacher, S. (2005, June). Your Health: The Full Picture.  Health Survey Results. Next. Pg 71-78.



A Dunedin study of 899 women who completed a self-report questionnaire on depressive symptoms.  On this basis 8% of the sample were identified as having major depressive disorder. These women tended to have a history of previously report psychological symptoms and formal treatment for depression.  A significantly high proportion of the depressed group had been young at first pregnancy and had since separated from their partners.

McGee R, Williams S, Kashani JH, Silva PA. (1983). Prevalence of self-reported depressive symptoms and associated social factors in mothers in Dunedin British Journal of Psychiatry. 1983 Nov; 143:473-9.

Top

Pacific Peoples

The links below will take you to facts and statistics about different aspects of Pacific Peoples mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand.

Te Orau Ora: Pacific Mental Health Profile, Ministry of Health

Pacific Peoples Mental Health


According to the New Zealand Mental Health Survey released September 2006, Pacific people experience mental disorders at a higher levels than the general population.  Twenty-five percent of Pacific people had experienced a mental disorder in the past 12 months and 46.5% had experienced a disorder at some stage during their lifetime.

Ministry of Health.  (2006).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Key Results. Wellington: Ministry of Health.


According to the New Zealand Mental Health Survey released September 2006, of New Zealand-born Pacific people, 31.4% had a 12-month prevalence of any mental health disorder compared with 15% of Pacific people who migrated after the age of 18.

Ministry of Health.  (2006).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Key Results. Wellington: Ministry of Health.


In an Auckland general practice study, using a multi-item screening tool (MIST) to access patients ‘felt needs’, it was found that Pacific Island patients expressed more concerns than NZ Europeans about being abused and expressing their anger.

Good-Year F, Arroll B, Coupe N & Buetow S (2005) Ethnic differences in mental health and lifestyle issues: results from multi-item general practice screening.  The New Zealand Medical Journal, 1 April 2005, Vol 118, No 1212.


Maori and Pacific peoples are over-represented with respect to access to problem gambling treatment services, and youth as a population group are becoming more visible in problem gambling studies.

Ministry of Health (2002) National Plan for Minimizing Gambling Harm & Associated Service Specifications.  Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Data taken from the Pacific Island Families (PIF): First Two Years of Life Study, suggested that 16.4% of a cohort of mothers of Pacific Island infants in Auckland, were assessed as probably experiencing postnatal depression. Prevalence rates varied from 7.6% for Samoans to 30.9% for Tongans.  Risk factors identified included: low Pacific Island acculturation, first birth, stress due to insufficient food, household income less than $40,000, difficulty with transport, dissatisfaction with pregnancy, birth experience, baby’s sleep patterns, partnership relationship and home. Consistent with expectations those who did not participate significantly in either Pacific Island or the majority culture had elevated prevalence. These findings suggest that retention of elements of traditional Pacific identity and culture serve a protective role with respect to postpartum psychological disorder.

Abbott M & Williams M (2006) Postnatal depressive symptoms among Pacific mothers in Auckland: prevalence and risk factors.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2006, 40: 230-238.



Pacific peoples’ utilisation of outpatient (mental health) care is lower than the national average.

Ministry of Health (2005) The Health of Pacific Peoples. Wellington: Ministry of Health: p21.


A Ministry of Health document, states that it is also apparent that Pacific beliefs about mental illness allow greater tolerance for behaviours that in Western medical terms might seem unusual or even bizarre.  It is concluded that this fact may in part help to explain why there is a perception that diagnosed mental illness in Pacific peoples is less than for other populations.

Ministry of Health (2005) Te Orau Ora: Pacific Mental Health Profile. Wellington: Ministry of Health: P17


There is limited research on the NZ Pacific population; however the Ministry of Health provide some prevalence estimates based on various NZ studies. Mood disorders and generalised anxiety are the most common mental illnesses for Pacific people, affecting approximately 11,000 people in any given six-month period. They are likely to more prevalent in women. 

 

Ministry of Health (2005) Te Orau Ora: Pacific Mental Health Profile. Wellington: Ministry of Health: P20


There is limited research on the NZ Pacific population; however the Ministry of Health provide some prevalence estimates based on various NZ studies. Alcohol and drug-use disorders are expected to affect approximately 11,000 Pacific peoples over a given six-month period – particularly young men.  Compared with the total population, rates of mental illness are generally higher among Pacific males and Pacific older people.

Ministry of Health (2005) Te Orau Ora: Pacific Mental Health Profile. Wellington: Ministry of Health: P21


Top

Maori

The links below will take you to facts and statistics about different aspects of Maori mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand.

Tatau Kahukaru: Maori Health ChartBook, Ministry of Health (2006)

Statistics, Maori Health, Ministry of Health Website

Hauora: M?ori Standards of Health IV (2007)

Summary of Facts & Stats on Maori Mental Health


The prevalence of mental disorders in Maori was 50.7% over their lifetime (before interview), 29.5% in the past twelve months and 18.3% in the previous month.

The most common 12-month disorders among Maori were anxiety disorders (19.4%), mood disorders (11.4%) and substance use disorders (8.6%).  The most common lifetime disorders among Maori were anxiety disorders (31.3%), substance abuse disorders (26.5%), mood disorders (24.3%) and eating disorders (3.1%).

Lifetime prevalence of any disorder was highest in Maori aged 25-44 (58.1%) and lowest in those aged 65 and over (22.7%).  The lifetime prevalence of disorder among Maori females was 52.7% and among Maori males was 48.8%.

In Maori with any 12-month disorder, 55.5% had only one disorder, 25.7% had two disorders and 18.8% had three or more disorders.

Citation: Baxter, J., Kingi, T, K., Tapsell, R., & Durie M.  (2006).  Maori. (Chapter 9).  In MA Oakley Browne, JE Wells, KM Scotts (Eds).  Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

 


 

In the Youth 2000 survey, the Maori specific findings found that most male taitamariki [Maori youth] (58.7%) were generally in a good mood, while most female taitamariki [Maori youth] (59.2%) reported feeling generally up and down.  Female taitamariki were about twice as likely as males to have significant depressive symptoms (females 22.7%, males 9.9%) as measured by the RADS depression scale.

Youth 2000 Research Group.  (2004) Te Ara Whakapiti Taitamariki: Maori specific findings of Youth2000: A
national secondary school youth health survey
.
Auckland, N.Z.: University of Auckland: pg 47.

 

 


Rates of mental disorder among Maori general practice attenders were higher than among non-Maori.  Overall, Maori women attenders were twice as likely as non-Maori women attenders to have a diagnosable mental disorder.  The rates of anxiety, depressive and substance use disorders were all higher for Maori than for others attending G.P’s.  Treatment for psychological problems was offered by the GP at similar rates to both Maori and non-Maori.  Although there were differences between Maori and non-Maori in terms of social and material deprivation, higher rates of mental disorder among Maori attending GPs compared to non-Maori cannot be accounted for by these differences alone.

MaGPIe Research Group. (2005) Mental disorders among Maori attending their general practitioner.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2005; 39: 401-406.

 


Top

Asian

The links below will take you to facts and statistics about different aspects of Asian mental health and wellbeing in New Zealand.

Asian Health Chart Book, Ministry of Health

Top

Depression - Refugees and Migrants


A NZ study looking at refugee and immigrants mental health showed that post-immigration factors, such as experiencing discrimination in New Zealand, not having close friends, being unemployed, and spending most of one’s time with one’s own ethnic group affected anxiety and depression scores.  A second study conducted by Pernice noted that mean depression levels were slightly lower for those who had lived in New Zealand for over six years, suggesting that mental health may improve the longer both refugees and immigrants reside in the host country.

Pernice, R & Brook J (1996, Spring) The mental health pattern of migrants: is there a euphoric period followed by a mental health crisis?  International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 42(1),18-27.


162 Chinese migrants aged 55 or older were interviewed using a Chinese version of the Geriatric Depression Scale.  26% of participants met the criteria for depressive symptomatology.  Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that lower emotional support, greater number of visits to a doctor, difficulties in accessing health services and low New Zealand cultural orientation increased the risk of showing symptoms of depression.

Abbott, M., Wong, S., Giles, L., Wong, S., Young, W., & Au, M. (2003). Depression in older Chinese migrants to Auckland. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 37, 445-451.


Top

Prison

The links below will take you to facts and statistics about different aspects of the mental health & wellbeing of inmates in New Zealand prisoners.

Summary of Facts & Stats on the Mental Health of NZ Prisoners


One in four prisoners reported having a psychological or psychiatric condition that caused them difficulties with everyday activities and socialising (23.6%; 18.5-28.7).

Lindbery, K.,  Huang, K. (2006).  Results from the prisoner health survey 2005.  Public Health Intelligence Occassional Bulletin 37.  Wellington: Public Health Intelligence, Ministry of Health.[pxiii & 59.]


The 1999 Psychiatric Survey of NZ Prisons, concluded that the results indicate a significantly higher rate of mental disorder than that in the community. This is particularly so for schizophrenia, for bipolar disorder, for major depression, for obsessive compulsive disorder and for post traumatic stress disorder.

Ministry of Justice , Ministry of Health.  (1999). National Study of Psychiatric Mobidity in NZ Prisons: Executive Summary.  Wellington: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health.

 


As part of the 1999 Psychiatric Survey of NZ Prisons, all inmates were asked whether they had received treatment for mental health problems prior to, and since being in, prison. Just over half the women and remand men had never received treatment prior to entering prison, whilst 68.8 percent of the sentenced men had received no prior treatment.


Ministry of Justice , Ministry of Health.  (1999). National Study of Psychiatric Mobidity in NZ Prisons: Executive Summary.  Wellington: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health.

 


The National Study also revealed that nearly 60 percent of all inmates have at least one major personality disorder.

Ministry of Justice , Ministry of Health.  (1999). National Study of Psychiatric Mobidity in NZ Prisons: Executive Summary.  Wellington: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health

 


During the 1999 Psychiatric Survey of NZ Prisons, it was found one quarter of all inmates has suffered a major depressive disorder.

 

Ministry of Justice , Ministry of Health.  (1999). National Study of Psychiatric Mobidity in NZ Prisons: Executive Summary.  Wellington: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health.



The National Study also revealed that 90 percent of those with major mental disorders also had a substance abuse disorder. Of the total prison population, 89.4 percent have a current substance abuse or dependence diagnosis; 35 percent of these inmates have received treatment for the abuse disorder since they have been in prison.

Ministry of Justice , Ministry of Health.  (1999). National Study of Psychiatric Mobidity in NZ Prisons: Executive Summary.  Wellington: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health.

Top

Postnatal Depression

The links below will take you to facts and statistics about different aspects of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal Depression


A 2005 Auckland study, that conducted a postal community survey of European/Caucasian women at 4 months postpartum, found that 30% were suffering from depressive symptomatology and only 13% of those were in treatment. The prevalence rate was estimated at 16%. They concluded that the prevalence rate of PNDS in urban New Zealand is slightly higher than the world-wide average, and goes largely untreated in the community.

Thio, I.  M., Oakley-Browne - M.  A., Coverdale, J.  H., & Argyle, N.  (20006).  Postnatal depressive symptoms go largely untreated: a probability study in urban New Zealand.  Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41(10), 814-818 [p817/814].


A Christchurch study assessed the prevalence of postnatal depression as 20 per cent of mothers, with 13 percent being significantly depressed and 7 percent having  borderline level of symptoms. Importantly, only 6% of the women in the study recognised their symptoms as characteristic of depression.

McGill, H.,  Burrows, V., & Holland, L, et al.  (1995).  Postnatal depression: a Christchurch studyNew Zealand Medical Journal, 108, 162-65.


An Auckland study of depressive symptoms in mothers at four weeks post-partum found 7.8  percent showed major depression and a further 13.6 percent minor depression.

Webster, M.  L., Thompson, J.  M.  D., & Mitchell, EW.  A.  et al.  (1994).  Postnatal depression in a community cohortAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 28, 42-9.

Top

Top Page last updated: 16 November 2012