Research report

Young people’s mental health over the years: youth survey 2012-14

21 Oct 2015

Shows an increase in the prevalence of probable mental illness among young females.

Adolescence can be an exciting time of life, but it is also the peak age of onset for many mental health disorders.This adds further complexity to an already challenging period as young people form their identities and transition to adulthood. Mission Australia runs Australia’s largest annual survey of teenagers, which in recent years has also collected information on levels of psychological distress. This report draws on three years of mental health data and offers recommendations for policy and practice based on these findings.

Previous research has found that half of all lifetime mental health disorders emerge by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. Mental illness contributes to 45% of the global burden
of disease among those aged 10 to 24 years. Mental health disorders have been shown to have significant detrimental effects on wellbeing, functioning and development in adolescence, and are associated with impaired academic achievement, unemployment, poor social functioning, and substance abuse. These negative effects may extend well beyond adolescence, creating an ongoing cycle of dysfunction and disadvantage.Mental health disorders also put individuals at greater risk of attempting and/or completing suicide, with suicide the leading cause of death for young Australians aged 15-24 years.


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