Lift the Lid

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How many people experience mental illness?

  • Almost one in five Australians (20%) will experience a mental illness in a 12-month period.
  • Nearly half (45%) of the population will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives.
  • At least one third of young people have had an episode of mental illness by the time they are 25 years old.
  • Mental illnesses are the third leading cause of disability burden in Australia.
  • Anyone can develop a mental illness and no one is immune to mental health problems

What are the most common mental illnesses?

  • Anxiety disorders affect around 14% and depression around 6%of the adult population every year.
  • The remainder are affected by substance abuse disorders, psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, personality disorders, and other conditions. Many people have more than one diagnosis.


What are the chances of recovering from mental illnesses?

Most people with mental illness recover well and are able to lead fulfilling lives in the community when they receive appropriate ongoing treatment and support.   However, only about half of those affected actually receive treatment. The majority of people who develop anxiety disorders and depression improve over time with appropriate treatment and support.


What can we do to improve these outcomes?

We believe continuing to create public awareness to break down stigma and raising funds for mental health research is a positive step to improving these outcomes. Lift the Lid on Mental Illness is an initiative of Australian Rotary Health, one of the largest non-government funders of mental health research in Australia.

You can help raise money by donating at


100% of the money raised for Lift the Lid on Mental Illness goes directly to funding mental health research through Australian Rotary Health (ARH). ARH PhD and Project Grants are used to develop and trial preventions and treatments for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses.