Timely and accurate assessments of disease burden are essential for developing effective national health policies. We used the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 to examine burden due to mental and substance use disorders in Australia.
For each of the 20 mental and substance use disorders included in Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, systematic reviews of epidemiological data were conducted, and data modelled using a Bayesian meta-regression tool to produce prevalence estimates by age, sex, geography and year. Prevalence for each disorder was then combined with a disorder-specific disability weight to give years lived with disability, as a measure of non-fatal burden. Fatal burden was measured as years of life lost due to premature mortality which were calculated by combining the number of deaths due to a disorder with the life expectancy remaining at the time of death. Disability-adjusted life years were calculated by summing years lived with disability and years of life lost to give a measure of total burden. Uncertainty was calculated around all burden estimates.
Mental and substance use disorders were the leading cause of non-fatal burden in Australia in 2015, explaining 24.3% of total years lived with disability, and were the second leading cause of total burden, accounting for 14.6% of total disability-adjusted life years. There was no significant change in the age-standardised disability-adjusted life year rates for mental and substance use disorders from 1990 to 2015.
Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 found that mental and substance use disorders were leading contributors to disease burden in Australia. Despite several decades of national reform, the burden of mental and substance use disorders remained largely unchanged between 1990 and 2015. To reduce this burden, effective population-level preventions strategies are required in addition to effective interventions of sufficient duration and coverage.