This Policy Brief documents current research findings about children’s mental health; it suggests the need for increased awareness of children’s mental health concerns and emphasises the importance of early prevention and intervention.
In Australia, there has been significantly increased awareness of mental illness and a major increase in available funding. However, mental health in early childhood – that is from birth to primary school age – remains a poor cousin to adult and youth mental health.
The focus for attention and funding is primarily on 12-25 year olds and disadvantaged groups with only a tiny fraction of the available mental health funding in Australia devoted to 0-12 year olds.
The next step is to focus on mental illness prevention and mental health promotion from very early childhood – where many of the mental health problems encountered in adolescence and adulthood have their origins.