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Psychological distress climbing among Kiwis, NZ health survey


Tāmaki Makaurau – Most New Zealanders are healthy, with 88.4 percent of adults reported they were in good health, according to the latest Ministry of Health survey.

Most adults, 83.2 percent, reported high family wellbeing. However all was not well.

Psychological distress among adults increased during covid, especially for young people. One in nine adults experienced high levels of distress in the past four weeks.

This was highest in the youngest age group, with 23.6 percent of people aged 15 to 24 years experiencing high levels of psychological distress. One in 10 adults reported not seeing a GP due to cost in the 12 months prior to the survey.

This is down from 13.6 percent in 2011/12. Māori (14.5 percent) and Pacific (11.4 percent) adults were more likely to report cost as a barrier.

Notably, daily smoking rates have continued to decrease, down eight percent from 9.4 percent the year before, however vaping has increased.

Māori (19.9 percent) and Pacific (18.2 percent) adults reported higher daily smoking rates than other ethnic groups. 8.3 percent of adults were daily vapers or e-cigarette users in 2021-22, up from 6.2 percent the previous year.

About one in five adults (18.8 percent) reported having a hazardous drinking pattern in 2020/21, similar to the years before.

One in eight children (12.5 percent) live in households where food runs out sometimes or often in 2021/22. This is down from 14.9 percent the previous year and 24.1 percent in 2012/13.

The survey’s findings will be used by decisionmakers and researchers to support the development of health services, policy and strategy, identify key health and wellbeing issues and monitor trends.

The data shows around 56,000 fewer daily smokers in 2021-22 compared with the previous year.

The 2021/22 New Zealand health survey findings have been published.