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Promoting youth mental health: priorities for policy from an Australian perspective

Authors


  • Declaration of conflict of interest: the author has no conflicts of interest.

Professor Debra J. Rickwood, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. Email: debra.rickwood@canberra.edu.au

Abstract

Aim: This paper considers the priorities for policy to promote youth mental health in Australia. The Ottawa Charter is applied as a conceptual framework to determine current strengths and future priorities across the entire spectrum of interventions for mental health promotion.

Methods: The five platforms of the Ottawa Charter are used to categorize some of the major initiatives that promote youth mental health. Areas of strength and major gaps within each platform are identified.

Results: Australia was shown to be at the forefront of many youth mental health promotion initiatives, particularly in the service reorientation and personal skills platforms of the Ottawa Charter.

Conclusions: While significant progress has been made in some areas of youth mental health promotion, areas of critical need for policy focus were: oversight of all public policies for their impact on youth mental health; more supportive environments for youth and better interconnection with mental health care; community action to support the youth voice; investment in resources for parents and families; ensuring quality inreach and outreach to provide young people with positive mental health messages and improve mental health literacy; and embedding and expanding effective innovations in youth mental health services reorientation.

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