One in five Australians aged 15-19 are likely to be experiencing a mental illness and less than half feel comfortable asking for help.
What can we do to make kids feel safe enough to talk?
According to ABC Radio's AM, the Youth Mental Health Report released today by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute has found that one in five Australians aged between 15 and 19 are likely to be experiencing mental illness.
The report comes as a result of 15,000 young people surveyed across Australia. It also finds that more than 60% aren't comfortable in seeking professional help.
In an interview with ABC's Thomas Oriti, Professor Helen Christensen, director of the Black Dog Institute, sees this as a major problem. "I don't think we know how to crack the problem, because essentially people most in need do not seek help."
Patrick McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health, highlights another finding of the report: that teenage girls are almost twice as likely as boys to be experiencing anxiety and depression.
Is early intervention the key? Kids Central in the Great Southern of WA was established approximately 3 years ago to provide clinical services for children aged 3 to 14 years. The aim is to support children to maintain good mental and emotional well being.
This concept of early intervention for such young children is rare in Australia.
Despite quickly filling all available appointment times for children, Kids Central has struggled financially. A charity initiated by a group of private individuals, Kids Central has failed to attract ongoing government support or funding.
Mental illness has gained increasing recognition in recent years as a significant health issue in Australia. While organsations such as the Black Dog Institute are vital, what can we as families, parents and communities do to assist our young people?