Overview: mental health conditions

The data presented in the Mental Health conditions section does not reflect the actual prevalence of mental health conditions in this population group but provide valuable information on humanitarian entrants who are able to access health care to get a mental health diagnosis.

There are limitations that should be considered in assessing the rate of self-reported mental health conditions amongst humanitarian entrants from the Census data, these include:

  • cultural sensitivities in self-reporting mental health conditions
  • accessing refugee specific mental health services which do not require a diagnosis to receive services and are free (trauma informed care such as PASTT)
  • seeking help on mental health issues from non-medical sources such as religious or community groups
  • the Census question specified that the respondent had to be told by a doctor or nurse that they have a mental health condition
  • poor mental health literacy
  • low health seeking behaviours (Tomasi et al. 2022).

For these reasons the rate of mental health conditions in humanitarian entrants is highly likely to be underestimated by the Census data. Due to this, this section does not make comparisons with other permanent migrants or the rest of the Australian population and focusses on the rate of self-reported mental health conditions among the humanitarian entrant population to identify groups who report high rates of mental health conditions.


Tomasi A, Slewa-Younan S, Narchal R and Rioseco P (2022) Understanding the mental health and help-seeking behaviours of refugees, Australian Institute of Family Studies website, accessed 24 May 2023.