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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19 July, 2010
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)
One in four young Australians have a mental disorder: ABS

One in four young Australians aged 16–24 years had a mental disorder in 2007, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Anxiety disorders were the most common, affecting 15% of young people, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the most commonly experienced Anxiety disorder (8%).

Substance Use disorders affected 13% of young people with Harmful Use of Alcohol the most common Substance Use Disorder (9%).

Around 6% of young people had an Affective disorder with Bipolar Affective Disorder and Depression (3% each) the most common Affective disorders.

Almost one-third of young women had a mental health disorder compared with around one-quarter of young men. Young women were more likely to have Anxiety or Affective disorders while Substance Use disorders were more common among young men.

Young people with a mental disorder were more than 5 times as likely as those without mental disorders to use illicit drugs or misuse legal drugs; twice as likely to be current smokers and around 1.5 times more likely to drink alcohol at least weekly.

Around 17% of young people with a mental disorder had a severe level of impairment, with the remainder having a mild or moderate level of impairment.

While the prevalence of mental illness is relatively high in young people, they have a relatively low use of mental health services. Just under a quarter of young people with a mental disorder had used mental health services in the previous year. Young people with a severe level of impairment were more likely to use mental health services (51%) than those those with milder levels of impairment (18%). General practitioners were the service most frequently accessed by young people with a mental disorder (15%) followed by psychologists (10%).

Of young people that did not access services, most (85%) did not feel that they had a need for any type of assistance.Young people with a Substance Use Disorder were the least likely to use mental health services.

More details can be found in the Mental Health of Young People (cat. no. 4840.0.55.001)