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Keywords:

  • Mental health;
  • young people;
  • service access;
  • age;
  • gender;
  • social and economic participation

Background

Australian young people have a high prevalence of mental health problems but low rates of service use. This article examines whether the Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace, has helped redress this through providing youth-specific services.

Method

The article compares headspace service use demographics with population data from the Australian Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing from 2007.

Results

Headspace has improved access relative to the population, particularly among males and socially and economically excluded young people.

Conclusions

Despite overall successes, certain ethnic and age groups appear under-represented and in need of more careful targeting by youth mental health services.