New survey reveals mental health and chronic illness concerns

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One in ten Australians rate their quality of life as poor with mental health and developing chronic illnesses identified as key concerns, according to a new survey commissioned by Bupa.

The 'Bupa Pulse Check' was conducted by Quantum Market Research and surveyed 2,000 Australians. It sought insights into attitudes towards health and well-being.

It found that two-in-three Australians were worried about developing a chronic illness with back pain, arthritis, cancer and mental health conditions listed as the overall top concerns.

It also found that half of Australians aged under 50 admitted delaying health appointments due to COVID-19, while 50 per cent also revealed their concerns about future pandemics.

Other key findings include that two in three of those surveyed who are aged between 18 and 39 sought mental health assistance over the last 12 months, with one in four accessing three or more services.

Two in five feel costs are the main barrier to maintaining health and well-being while 35 per cent say they simply lack motivation.

One in five rate their financial situation as poor. Finances were found to be one of the main drivers impacting people’s perceptions of their overall quality of life and mental health.

Active transport such as walking, running and cycling are the top ways Australians are incorporating exercise into their regular life, while 32 per cent monitor their health and fitness using an app or wearable device.

Bupa Health Insurance managing director Chris Carroll said the survey showed how Australians continued to prioritise their health and wellbeing needs since the pandemic.

“The pandemic caused a shift in the way we approach life and while it’s positive to see some healthy behaviours emerge, like being more active and reducing alcohol intake, there are still lingering concerns about Australians’ long-term well-being and approach to managing chronic health issues,” said Mr Carroll.

“With many of those surveyed citing financial pressures as one of the barriers to healthier lifestyles, we continue to work hard to ensure customers can get maximum value from their policies and have advocated for changes that would allow private health providers to fund certain wellness and lifestyle products like gym memberships, fitness wearables and accessing care in the community.

“We know costs of living challenges continue to impact Australians, and we are supporting our members where we can, including announcing $875 million in customer support since the pandemic started," he said.

Mr Carroll said the findings indicated the importance of keeping mental health discussions going and ensuring that we all check in on our friends and families.

“It is encouraging to see two in three young Australians seeking mental health support in the last 12 months, and with greater mental health awareness many have taken important steps to see a doctor, practice mindfulness, and most importantly felt comfortable to reach out to their family and friends for support.”