Mission Australia, Black Dog Institute release new mental health data

YOUNG TASMANIANS' STRUGGLE: A new report, released by Black Dog Institute and Mission Australia on Wednesday, analysed the mental health of young people in Australia aged between 15 and 19.
YOUNG TASMANIANS' STRUGGLE: A new report, released by Black Dog Institute and Mission Australia on Wednesday, analysed the mental health of young people in Australia aged between 15 and 19.

More young Tasmanians are experiencing psychological distress than five years ago, new research has found. 

About one in five young Tasmanians met the criteria for probable serious mental illness in 2016. 

The figure jumped from 17.4 per cent in 2012 to 22.4 per cent in 2016. Nationally, the figure was at 22.8 per cent in 2016, up from 18.7 per cent in 2012. 

The Five Year Mental Health Youth Report was released by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute on Wednesday.

The national report analysed data from Mission Australia’s annual youth survey, which encompasses young people aged between 15 and 19. Mission Australia state director Noel Mundy said extra support and resources needed to be available for young people. 

“Parents, schools and community all play a vital role, we must ensure they are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide effective support to young people,” Mr Mundy said. 

Females were more likely than males to meet the criteria for probable serious mental illness, at 26.3 per cent and 16.3 per cent respectively, in Tasmania. The research found young people with a probable serious mental illness said they would go to friends, parents and the internet as their three primary sources of help.

Comparatively, young Tasmanians without a probable serious mental illness said they would seek help from friends, parents and relatives or family.

The top issues of concern for those with a probable serious mental illness in Tasmania were coping with stress, school and study problems, and depression. 

Concerns about issues including family conflict, suicide and bullying or emotional abuse were also identified.  

“We must work together to ensure young people have the resources they need to manage mental health difficulties, whether it is for themselves or their peers,” Mr Mundy said. 

“We know that the effects of experiencing mental illness at such a young age can be debilitating and harmful to an individual’s quality of life, their academic achievement as well as social participation both in the short-term and long-term.”

Mr Mundy thanked young people for speaking out about mental health.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the state government was focused on mental health supports through its Rethink Mental Health Plan, and had developed a Youth at Risk strategy. He said the state government also developed the Youth Suicide Prevention Plan.

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