Objective: To compare the prevalence of common mental disorders, disability and health service utilization amongst Vietnamese refugees resettled in Australia for 11 years, with data obtained from a national survey of the host population.
Method: A stratified multistage probability household survey of 1611 Vietnamese undertaken in the state of New South Wales was compared with data from 7961 Australian-born respondents. Measures included the CIDI 2.1 and the MOS SF-12.
Results: The 12-month prevalence of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol dependence amongst Vietnamese was 6.1% compared with 16.7% amongst Australians. Vietnamese with a mental illness reported higher disability but exhibited similar levels of mental health consultation. The overall service burden of mental disorders was lower for the Vietnamese.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that refugee groups resettled for some time in Western countries may show sound mental health adaptation and do not necessarily impose a burden on general or mental health services.