Mental health: new horizons in nutrition research and dietetic practice
The role of nutrition in both the aetiology and management of mental health disorders is a rapidly growing area of research, and has implications for translation into practice. Mental illness is common. One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year, and it is estimated that almost half (45%) of Australians will experience a mental illness sometime during their lifetime. 1 The most common mental illnesses are depressive disorders, anxiety and substance abuse, which often occur in combination.1 In 2011-2012, there were 3.0 million Australians (13.6%) who reported having a mental illness condition, an increase from 11.2% in 2007-2008 and 9.6% in 2001.2 Mood (affective) problems, which include depression, were most prevalent (2.1 million people or 9.7% of the population) followed by anxiety-related problems (850 100 people or 3.8%). The onset of mental illness is typically around mid-to-late adolescence and Australian youth aged 18-24 years have the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group. Over one in four (26%) young Australians experience a mental illness every year, with anxiety disorders particularly common (14%).