4841.0 - Facts at your Fingertips: Health, 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/07/2012  First Issue
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Contents >> Mental Health of Young People


This fact sheet summarises the information presented in the Mental Health of Young People, 2007 publication (ABS cat. no. 4840.0.55.001)


    This fact sheet focuses on young people aged 16–24 years. Information is drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (SMHWB). It should be noted that the 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).

    This article focuses on young people (aged 16–24 years) who met criteria for a diagnosis of a lifetime mental disorder and who experienced symptoms in the 12 months prior to the survey. See: Mental Health of Young People (cat. no. 4840.0.55.001) for further information.

1.1 Prevalence of selected mental disorders(a)(b), Australia, 2007
Graph Image for Prevalence of selected mental disorders, Australia, 2007

Footnote(s): (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 mental disorder.

Source(s): ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2007

  • In 2007, around a quarter of all young people aged 16–24 years had a mental disorder (approximately 26% or 671,000 young people).
  • Young people were more likely to have Anxiety disorders (15%) and Substance Use disorders (13%) than Affective disorders (6%).
  • Young women were more likely than young men to have had a mental disorder in the previous year (374,800 or 30% compared with 296,300 or 23% respectively).
  • Young women were around twice as likely as young men to have an Affective Disorder (8% compared with 4%) or an Anxiety Disorder (22% compared with 9%).
  • Substance Use disorders were more common in young men (16%) than in young women (10%).
  • Young people with mental disorders were over 5 times more likely to misuse drugs than those without a mental disorder (36% compared with 7%).
  • Around 17% of young people with a mental disorder had a severe level of impairment, 35% a moderate level and 48% a mild impairment.
  • Just under a quarter of young people (23%) with a mental disorder accessed mental health services in the previous year.

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