This paper examines patterns of health and support service use among Australian children, especially among those at elevated risk of experiencing poor social-emotional wellbeing and psychological adjustment.

Key findings:

  1. Children at increased risk of social-emotional problems had higher rates of contact with various service types, including psychiatric and behavioural therapy services, other medical professionals including GPs, paediatricians and speech therapists, in addition to hospital emergency and outpatient services.
  2. Medicare data indicated that the usage rates of paediatricians, GPs specifically in relation to mental health concerns, and psychologists were consistently – and significantly – higher among children at risk of experiencing psychosocial adjustment issues such as hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, and conduct and peer problems across all ages
  3. There are valuable opportunities for frontline medical, health and social support professionals to identify children who may be at risk of mental health problems and provide parents with advice or referrals to services that may prevent these issues from progressing to more serious problems.


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