4840.0.55.001 - Mental Health of Young People, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2010  First Issue
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Information for this article was drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (SMHWB). Funding for the survey was provided by the Australian Government through the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). It should be noted that the 2007 SMHWB excluded persons in hospitals, nursing and convalescent homes and hospices, hence the data relate only to people in private dwellings.

Information was collected on selected mental disorders that were considered to have the highest rates of prevalence in the population, and that were identifiable through an interviewer-based survey. The survey used a structured diagnostic interview, the World Mental Health Survey Initiative version of the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0 (WMH-CIDI 3.0). More information on the WMH-CIDI 3.0 is available from the World Mental Health website www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/wmh

The survey provides an assessment of mental disorders against the diagnostic criteria of two classification systems: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV); and the WHO International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). This article provides data on mental disorders defined using the ICD-10 criteria.

The classification system lists sets of criteria that are necessary for diagnosis. The criteria specify the nature and number of symptoms required; the level of distress or impairment required; and the exclusion of cases where symptoms can be directly attributed to general medical conditions, such as a physical injury.

The mental disorders identified in the survey include:
  • Anxiety disorders, which are those involving feelings of tension, distress or nervousness, including Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Affective disorders, which involve mood disturbance, including Depressive Episodes, Dysthymia and Bipolar Affective Disorder.
  • Substance Use disorders, including Harmful Use of alcohol, Alcohol Dependence, and Drug Use disorders (including Harmful use and Dependence).

Information was collected on people's experiences throughout their lifetime. In order to provide a current snapshot of mental health in young people, 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. For more information on ICD-10 mental disorders, please see see Chapter 3 of the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide, (cat. no. 4327.0).