[Extract] Mental health disorders are a significant public health issue.There are limited data on the national prevalence of mental illness, and it is challenging to obtain accurate statistics.However, a commonly reported figure is that one in five Australians will experience mental illness at some stage during their lifetime. Using self-reported data collected during the 2004–2005 National Health Survey, an estimated 2.1 million Australians (10.7% of the population) reported along-term mental or behavioral problem. People with mental illness have much higher rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, than the general population. A review of published studies under-taken in America reports that patients with schizophrenia have a 20% reduced life expectancy compared with the general American population. An Australian study, examining the death rates from heart disease in Western Australian psychiatric patients over an 18-year period (1980–1998)reported that the leading cause of mortality in users of mental health services was ischaemic heart disease (16%)compared with 8% of deaths due to suicide. However,despite this research and the National Mental Health Plan 2003–2008 recommendation to extend evidence-based mental health practice, little research has been conducted in Australia and New Zealand.