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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The Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Disadvantage is used to examine the association between socioeconomic disadvantage and health. It summarises various attributes (such as income, unemployment and educational attainment) of an area in which people live. There was no significant difference between the rates of mental disorder* for young people living in the most disadvantaged areas compared with those living in the least disadvantaged areas (22% and 26% respectively).

Similarly, young people living in major cities were about as likely as those living in other areas of the State or Territory to have a mental disorder (around 26%). Anxiety disorders were the most common type of mental disorder in both major cities and other areas of the States and Territories.


Participation in education and work are important aspects in the growth of young adults, helping to increase their independence and self-confidence, and provide the foundations for a career (3).

Young people with a mental disorder were about as likely as those without a disorder to be participating in education or employment (about 92%). Even among those with a severe level of impairment, the majority (84%) were in education or employment.

People with mental disorders, particularly if they are severe, may encounter difficulties in managing their illness and their work or study. The number of days out of role is a measure of the number of days in the last 30 that a person could not fulfil their usual roles due to the person's own health. Young people with a severe disorder spent an average of 6 days in the last 30 out of their normal role, compared with 2 days for people with a moderate disorder, and 1 day for both people with a mild disorder and people with no disorder. (as shown in Graph 3.1)

Graph 3.1 Young people with mental disorders(a)(b), Mean days out of role by level of severity, Australia - 2007

(a) 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.
(b) 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.