Urgent action needed: one quarter of teens in psychological distress

Urgent action needed: one quarter of teens in psychological distress

A joint report released today by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute shows more young Australians are in psychological distress than five years ago, with almost one in four young people in 2016 meeting the criteria for probable serious mental illness and young females twice as likely as males to report high psychological distress.

The report highlights the important role of friends, parents and the internet as sources of help for young people with a probable serious mental illness.

Annually, thousands of young Australians participate in Mission Australia’s Youth Survey. The poll collects information on a broad range of issues, including levels of psychological distress in young people.

The Five Year Mental Health Youth Report presents the findings of the past five years on the rates of psychological distress experienced by young Australians, aged 15-19.

•    Almost one in four young people met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness – a significant increase over the past five years (rising from 18.7% in 2012 to 22.8% in 2016).

•    Across the five years, females were twice as likely as males to meet the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness. The increase has been much more marked among females (from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016, compared to a rise from 12.7% to 14.1% for males).

•    Young people with a probable serious mental illness reported they would go to friends, parents and the internet as their top three sources of help. This is compared to friends, parents and relatives/family friends for those without a probable serious mental illness.

•    In 2016, over three in ten (31.6%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents met the criteria for probable serious mental illness, compared to 22.2% for non-Indigenous youth.

In light of these findings, Catherine Yeomans, Mission Australia’s CEO said that “Adolescence comes with its own set of challenges for young people. But we are talking about an alarming number of young people facing serious mental illness; often in silence and without accessing the help they need.

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Source: EducationHQ Australia

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