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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2010  Final
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29 October, 2010
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Psychological distress high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Nearly one in every three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults experienced high levels of psychological distress, more than twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians, according to the latest ABS figures released today.

In 2008, high levels of psychological distress, which includes feelings of depression and anxiety, were experienced by 31% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

Rates were particularly high among victims of violence (46%), people with a disability or long-term health condition (43%), and those who had experienced discrimination (44%) or removal from their natural family (39%).

Despite high rates of psychological distress, the majority (72%) of adults reported being happy all or most of the time. Rates were higher among those living in remote areas (78%) than non-remote areas (71%).

More details on these and other topics, including Housing and Access to health services, are available in the October release of The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (cat. no. 4704.0), available for free download from the ABS web site. Additional analysis as part of this release will be available later in 2010.

Media notes:

Psychological distress is measured using a modified version of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. High scores indicate that feelings of anxiety or depression may be being experienced on a regular basis, whereas a low score indicates these feelings are experienced less frequently or not at all.

Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.

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