National Report Card: A concerning picture of the state of mental health and wellbeing in Australia

The National Mental Health Commission has released its National Report Card 2023, focussed on the performance of Australia’s mental health system in the calendar year 2023.

Date published:

In this year’s report our analysis of the available data shows there has not been an improvement in mental health and wellbeing for people in Australia over the past decade or more, and some are experiencing a decline in whole of life outcomes.

Factors that influence mental health and wellbeing such as financial stress, loneliness, and discrimination are not improving. In addition, there are signs that the mental health system is struggling to meet demand, or to improve experiences for people. There are, however, promising signs that progress is being made in some key areas of safety and consumer rights.

When considering the broader environmental context of recent years—the continuing and emerging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounding natural disasters, international conflict and increased costs of living—this broad lack of improvement is not surprising. However, it is certainly concerning, and reinforces the need to act with urgency. 

Urgent action is particularly important for assisting young people with mental health concerns and ensuring the right supports are in place. The percentage of people aged 16-24 years who experienced a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months has increased from 26% in 2007 to 39% in the period between 2020 and 2022. The increase over this time span is greatest for young females (from 29% to 46%) compared to young males (from 23% to 32%). 

The National Report Card 2023 uses a refreshed reporting framework to promote transparency and track whole-of-life outcomes for people living with mental health concerns in Australia. It’s main data sources include the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and it organises information and data and makes its findings, across three main areas:

  • Mental health – the status of mental health and wellbeing outcomes for people with lived experience of mental health concerns. 
  • Social determinants – the broader social factors that affect the mental health of people in Australia. 
  • System inputs and activities – how the mental health system itself affects mental health in Australia.

Our commitment moving forward is to work with Commonwealth and state and territory agencies, people with lived and living experience, and the mental health sector, to build on this reporting framework year by year. We will focus on improving national data collections and data analysis capability to develop a solid foundation for understanding the effectiveness of the mental health system over time that informs change for the better.

Paul McCormack 
Interim CEO
National Mental Health Commission

Read the National Report Card 2023 | National Mental Health Commission

  • Reporting
  • Suicide prevention

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past and present, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.