The number of Australians living with schizophrenia is unknown because there is currently no data on who they are or where they live, denying many access to support and care.
On World Schizophrenia Awareness Day, SANE the national organisation representing Australians living with complex or severe mental ill health is calling on the federal government to recognise those living with schizophrenia to ensure they receive the mental health care they need and deserve.
In 2022, the ABS released results from a National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
However the survey that will form the blueprint for review and reform of the mental health system excluded low prevalence but high impact conditions such as schizophrenia.
20 million people worldwide are living with schizophrenia, SANE CEO Rachel Green says whilst the overall number is low in comparison to depression and anxiety, the impact on the health system huge.
"We have a big problem. What gets measured gets done, and at the moment we don’t know how many Australians are impacted by schizophrenia and where they live.”
“This information is critical to ensure access to the early intervention services shown clearly to reduce the lifelong impact of schizophrenia and improve quality of life."
Almost half of all those using SANE national helplines and support services are relying entirely on their GP for mental health care. Access to critical social support that assists with housing and employment is even more limited.
SANE supports solutions that give those living with complex and severe mental ill health their best chance to live a productive and meaningful life.