Title

Mental illness, the law and the news media: Competing rights and interests

Date of this Version

1-1-2012

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Citation only

Pearson, M. (2012). Mental illness, the law and the news media: Competing rights and interests. In P. Keyzer, J. Johnston & M. Pearson (Eds.), The Courts and the media: Challenges in the era of digital and social media (pp. 132- 149). Canberra, Australia: Halstead Press.

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2012 HERDC submission. FoR code: 200102

© Copyright Bond University, 2012

ISBN

9781920831936

Abstract

Extract

Mental health has become a major economic and political issue in Australia in recent decades. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) estimated that seven million Australians (45 per cent of the population aged 16-85 years) would experience a mental disorder over their lifetimes.1 An estimated three million Australians (20 per cent of the population aged 16-85 years) will experience symptoms of a mental disorder each year.2 Mental disorders accounted for 13 per cent of all diseases in Australia in 2003.3 The number of acute psychiatric beds in the nation's psychiatric and general hospitals had grown to more than 4,400 by 2008,4 and many of the patients were involuntary, having been committed to treatment under the state and territory mental health tribunal processes. All of this comes at considerable economic cost, with the AlHW estimating more than $5.8 billion, or $272 per Australian, was spent on mental health-related services during 2008-09.5 The Senate Select Committee on Mental Health noted that people with mental illness were over-represented in the criminal justice system and that the incidence of mental illness among the courts and prison populations in Australia and overseas was higher than in the broader community.6

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This document has been peer reviewed.