National mental health policy and Australia’s ‘Deaths of despair’

Tarun Bastiampillai, Jeffrey C.L. Looi, Stephen Allison, Sven K. Delaney, Steve Kisely

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


First coined in the United States, ‘Deaths of despair’ refer to mortality due to suicides, alcohol-related mortality and drug overdoses (Case and Deaton, 2017). Deaths from these combined conditions are approximately double the suicide rate alone and may represent a more comprehensive picture of adverse outcomes from psychological morbidity (Figure 1). In contrast to the declining rates of all-cause mortality in high-income countries, those from ‘Deaths of despair’ have remained steady or even increased, particularly in the United States...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-518
Number of pages2
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Early online date15 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • public policy
  • health policy
  • mental health


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