13 February 2015

Psychological Disability

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a report on data from the 2012 ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).

The SDAC is
designed to measure the prevalence of disability in Australia, as well as inform around the socio-economic characteristics and the need for support by people with disability. 
It deals with psychological disability in terms of people who reported:
  • A nervous or emotional condition which causes restrictions in everyday activities that has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more; or 
  • A mental illness for which help or supervision is required that has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more; or 
  • A brain injury, including stroke, which results in a mental illness or nervous and emotional condition which causes restrictions in everyday activities. 
The ABS indicates that key results were -
  • Of all people with any type of disability, 18.5% had a psychological disability. 
  • 3.4% of Australians (770,500 people) reported having a psychological disability, with similar rates for men and women. This was an increase from 2.8% (606,000 people) in 2009. 
  • For women, the prevalence of psychological disability increased steadily with age, with a rate of one in every five women aged 85 years and over (20.2%). Although prevalence generally increased with age, there was a significant decrease for women aged 65-74 years (3.3%) whose rate was on par with women aged 35-44 years (2.9%). 
  • For men, there was a higher prevalence (compared with women) in the younger age groups, with boys aged 0-14 years three times as likely as girls of a similar age to have a psychological disability (2.2% compared with 0.7%), attributed to the higher prevalence of autism in males in this age group. Overall, the prevalence for men also increased with age.
  • Of those people with a psychological disability,  four in ten reported profound levels of core activity limitation, and a further two in ten reported severe core activity limitations. 
  • A wide range of long-term health conditions and impairments coexist with psychological disability -  the majority of people who reported a psychological disability reported having one or more other disabling conditions. 
  • 96% of people with psychological disability reported needing assistance or experiencing difficulty in at least one of the broad activity areas of everyday life. 
  • 1.8% of people with psychological disability who reported needing assistance did not have their need met at all.
  • There is lower participation in education and employment for people with psychological disability, compared with those with no disability.