Long-term Health Conditions – Banyule and City of Whittlesea

Mental health is also a long-term health condition among the residents of Banyule and Whittlesea

By Dr Baljit Singh      Wednesday, 12 October 2022

In this article, we’ll take a brief look at the long-term health of two community board areas – Banyule and Whittlesea to see how they are doing in terms of health.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) asked questions about long-term health for the first time in the 2021 census. The question asks whether respondents have been medically diagnosed with any of ten long-term health conditions (or any other as a single category) by a doctor or nurse. The advice to answer this question was to include any recurring health conditions that last or are expected to last six months or more.

People in Banyule City Council have overall higher long-term health outcomes compared to Whittlesea. The extent of arthritis and asthma is also of greater concern in Banyule. What’s more, in terms of mental health conditions, people in the Banyule region have more mental health conditions compared to Whittlesea. It is a matter of concern for the council and the health authorities as health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing It’s not just the absence of disease – poor social, economic and political conditions can make people sick. Depression can be aggravated by social factors such as extreme stress at work, family life, alcohol dependence, lack of self-esteem, negative thinking, worthlessness, etc.

It is essential to note that, a person’s physical health can influence their mental state. People with an illness or disability may feel depressed or anxious about their illness or disability. Conversely, a person’s mental health can influence their physical state. Positive emotions may contribute to a person’s ability to recover from disease faster.

Society needs to become more community-orientated. Apart from family and friends; neighbours can bring a positive a change in person’s life.

Employment and income are the primary factors affecting healthy living conditions. Children’s mental state also gets affected if parents lose their job. Overcoming household poverty requires both the creation of new jobs and the distribution of existing ones. Otherwise, one household would live in prosperity and the other in poverty. Education and training are also important.

As the cost of living rises, parents and individuals need to make better choices so they can meet the urgent needs of their families – food, clothing and shelter, including health and leisure. I saved a few hundred dollars by going to the local park, where the city council installed free gym equipment, enough for my daily physical activity needs. Walking to school where possible can help ease the cost of living pressures.

Soft drinks people are avoiding as they are health conscious, and giving up cigarette smoking and alcohol are among the best choices. A person’s health is in their own hands. I study during the day to save on electricity bills. Seniors and retirees can keep themselves busy with productive and less expensive recreational activities. There are a number of ways in which we can relieve mental stress by better managing the conditions of everyday life.

Health authorities too can overcome their mental pressure by preparing ahead and doing things differently to cater for the health needs of the people. It’s about building a resilient health system. For example, investing in health and education awareness will help build resilience. People are using masks even if it is not mandatory as they don’t want to get sick. The government also vaccinated people to prevent them from getting sick from the Coronavirus, which is also building up people’s and health system resilience. Likewise, they can increase the ability to train the workforce to meet the growing demand for vital health and social care services.

People are people, it doesn’t matter which region they live in. Their happiness lies in their health – physically, mentally and socially.


About the Author

Dr Baljit Singh received his PhD in Economics from La Trobe University in Melbourne. The title of his thesis is Socio-economic Development and Fertility: A Case Study in India. His experience includes teaching and research in public health. His interests further extend to global health, health promotion, health systems and economics. His books are:

  • Singh, B. (2022) Kavita Sundarya- Mere Nazar Se, Hindi Poetry Book, Hindi Sahitya Sadan, Delhi, India
  • Singh, B. (2021) A Walk without Food, Xlibris, Sydney, Australia
  • Singh, B. (2020) The Manifestations of Being, Xlibris, Sydney, Australia
  • Singh, B. (2019) Topics in Population and Health, Xlibris, Sydney, Australia