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4840.0.55.001 - Mental Health of Young People, 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2010  First Issue
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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE USE


In the SMHWB, people were asked about the services they had used for "problems" with their mental health. These services included consultations with a health professional, for example, general practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists, social workers and counsellors, as well as any hospital admissions and self-management strategies.

While the prevalence of mental illness is relatively high in young people, they have a relatively low use of mental health services compared with older age groups where the rate of mental illness is lower and the rate of service use is higher. In 2007, just under a quarter (23%) of young people with a mental disorder* had accessed mental health services in the previous year, compared with around 41% of people aged 45-54 years. (as shown in Graph 4.1)


Graph 4.1 People with a mental disorder(a)(b) who used mental health services, Australia - 2007
(a) People aged 16-85 years who met criteria for diagnosis of a lifetime mental^disorder and had symptoms in the 12 months prior to interview.
(b) A person may have had more than one disorder.


Young people with Substance Use disorders were the least likely to access mental health services (11%), while around one-third (32%) of young people with Anxiety disorders and almost half (49%) of all young people with Affective disorders did access mental health services.

Of young people with a mental disorder, those with a severe level of impairment were more likely to make use of mental health services than those with milder levels of impairment (51% compared with 18% respectively). This pattern was consistent across all age groups. (as shown in Graph 4.2)


Graph 4.2 People with a mental disorder(a)(b) who used mental health services in last 12 months and their level of impairment, Australia - 2007
(a) People aged 16-85 years who met criteria for diagnosis of a lifetime mental disorder and had symptoms in the 12 months prior to interview.
(b) A person may have more than one disorder. The components when added may therefore not add to the total shown.


GPs were the most frequently used health professional by young people with a mental disorder (15%), followed by psychologists (10%).

Of young people with a mental disorder that did not access mental health services, most (85%) did not feel that they had a need for any type of assistance and 15% reported that they felt they had some level of unmet need (that is, their needs were met only partially, or were not met at all).

Of all young people with a mental disorder, 14% felt they had an unmet need for counselling or talking therapy and 11% felt they had an unmet need for information about mental illness, its treatment and available services.

In addition to using formal mental health services, some people have personal strategies for coping with mental illness. Of all young people with a mental disorder, around 332,700 used a self-management strategy specifically to help cope with their mental illness. Of these young people, around two-thirds sought support from family and friends (65%), while 59% did more of the things they enjoyed and around half increased their physical activity (48%) (as shown in Graph 4.3).


Graph 4.3 Self-management strategies(a)(b) of young people with mental disorders(c)(d), Australia - 2007
(a) Of those who used a self-management strategy.
(b) A person may have had more than one self-management strategy.
(c) People aged 16-24 years who met criteria for diagnosis of a lifetime mental disorder and had symptoms in the 12 months prior to interview.
(d) A person may have had more than one disorder.






*This article focuses on young people who met criteria for a diagnosis of a lifetime mental disorder and who experienced symptoms in the 12 months prior to the survey.

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