Research and Evaluation Unit, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 72 King William Road, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006, Australia. Email: email@example.com
The mental health of young people in Australia: key findings from the child and adolescent component of the national survey of mental health and well-being
Article first published online: 18 SEP 2008
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 35, Issue 6, pages 806–814, December 2001
How to Cite
Sawyer, M.G., Arney, F.M., Baghurst, P.A., Clark, J.J., Graetz, B.W., Kosky, R.J., Nurcombe, B., Patton, G.C., Prior, M.R., Raphael, B., Rey, J.M., Whaites, L.C. and Zubrick, S.R. (2001), The mental health of young people in Australia: key findings from the child and adolescent component of the national survey of mental health and well-being. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 35: 806–814. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.2001.00964.x
Fiona Arney, PhD student; Peter Baghurst, Head
Public Health Research Unit, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, Australia
Robert J. Kosky, Emeritus Professor
Department of Psychiatry, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia
Barry Nurcombe Professor, Department of Psychiatry; Beverley Raphael, Emeritus Professor
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
George C. Patton, Professor, Centre for Adolescent Health, Margot R. Prior, Professor, Department of Psychology
The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Joseph M. Rey, Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Northern Sydney Health, Professor, Department of Psychological Medicine
The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Stephen R. Zubrick, Head, Division of Population Science, TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, and Professor
Centre for Developmental Health, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
- Issue published online: 18 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 18 SEP 2008
- health-related quality of life;
- mental disorders;
- physical disorders
Objective: To identify the prevalence of three mental disorders (Depressive Disorder, Conduct Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), the prevalence of mental health problems, the health-related quality of life of those with problems, and patterns of service utilisation of those with and without mental health problems, among 4–17-year-olds in Australia. To identify rates of health-risk behaviours among adolescents with mental health problems.
Method: The mental disorders were assessed using the parent-version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV. Parents completed the Child Behaviour Checklist to identify mental health problems and standard questionnaires to assess health-related quality of life and service use. The Youth Risk Behaviour Questionnaire completed by adolescents was employed to identify health-risk behaviours.
Results: Fourteen percent of children and adolescents were identified as having mental health problems. Many of those with mental health problems had problems in other areas of their lives and were at increased risk for suicidal behaviour. Only 25% of those with mental health problems had attended a professional service during the six months prior to the survey.
Conclusion: Child and adolescent mental health problems are an important public health problem in Australia. The appropriate balance between funding provided for clinical interventions focusing on individual children and families and funding for interventions that focus on populations, requires careful study. The latter are an essential component of any strategy to reduce mental health problems as the high prevalence of problems makes it unlikely that individual care will ever be available for all those needing help. Clinical and population health interventions must take into account the comorbid problems experienced by children with mental disorders.