Schizophrenia Statistics

Did you know that...

  • Schizophrenia is the most severe of the mental illnesses and can affect all spheres of life, including perception, thought, judgement, mood, drive and ultimately, personality. 
  • Approximately fifteen people in every thousand will be affected over their lifetime. 
  • This will lead to well over a million Australians (as family and friends) being directly involved. 
  • Schizophrenia is ten times more common than AIDS, cot death and melanoma combined
  • It is estimated that schizophrenia costs the community at least $2.5 billion per year in direct costs, which can be multiplied many times to account for the indirect costs. 
  • The majority of people will develop schizophrenia between the ages of 15 and 30 - during their most formative years.  However, this average does not exclude younger or older people from developing schizophrenia. 
  • Approximately 5 -10% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia will end their own lives.  This is roughly 12 times the national average and means that approximately 18,000 Australians alive today will suicide as a result of schizophrenia. 
  • Schizophrenia affects both males and females alike, however, onset often occurs earlier in men than in women and slightly more men than women are affected. 
  • Approximately one quarter of people have one or two episodes and completely recover.  The next 50% will have more episodes and will need ongoing medication but will have a reasonable quality of life.  The next quarter will have a chronic form of the illness, ie  they will have difficulty finding a medication that suits and will be in and out of hospital. 

And did you also know that....

All these famous people have had psychosis:

John Nash:  a mathematician who was interested in the 'game theory'.  In 1994 he received the Nobel Prize for economics.

William Chester Minor:  was an American surgeon who spent 37 years in a mental hospital as a result of protracted psychosis.  During his hospitalisation he significantly contributed to the compilation of the Oxford English dictionary and managed to keep his disorder a secret from the Editor in Chief.

David Helfgott:  is a talented Australian pianist.  He was a child prodigy on the keyboard until his career was interrupted by psychosis.  He is the subject of the movie 'Shine'.

Syd Barrett:  was one of the founders of pop group Pink Floyd.  Before that came about, he dropped out of sight due to psychotic episodes.  He retired from public life and died in 2006.

Vaslav Nijinski:  a Russian-born dancer who achieved almost legendary reputation for his acrobatic daring and sensitive interpretations of major ballet productions.

Antonin Artaud:  was a famous French artist, poet and theatre producer.


1.  De Hert, M., Magiels, G.  & Thys, E.  (2000) The Secret of the Brain Chip