One Fifth of Australian Youth Dealing with Mental Sickness

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By Afza Fathima | June 18, 2014 5:20 PM EST

A fifth of the young Australians are facing mental illness, but more than 60 per cent of them aren't too comfortable seeking help. A study of 15- to 19-year-old Australians was conducted by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute which showed that 21 per cent of 15,000 youngsters are clouded with psychological sickness. The youth show high levels of psychological distress.

Catherine Yeomans, CEO of Mission Australia, said, "The confronting findings in this report illustrate the important challenges several of our younger people are dealing with when it comes to psychological distress and mental wellness issues. We know that a lot of our youth are struggling with complicated problems and its impacting on their ability to transition with self-confidence into adulthood." Adolescents face a huge amount of pressure at school, at home and peer pressure, resulting in mental and social distress. The youngsters facing serious mental illness are at a high risk of committing suicide.

Professor Helen Christensen, director of the Black Dog Institute, said, "These results were sobering yet not unexpected. We know that Australian young people are struggling, but as our recommendations show, we also know how many of these issues can be addressed."

Those from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait have a higher number of those affected by mental sickness than the non- Aboriginals with 32 per cent Aboriginals affected in comparison to 21 per cent of the non- Aboriginal people. The number of girls affected by it are more than that of the boys, and there has been an increase of 26 per cent and 14 per cent in girls and boys, respectively. Amongst those affected, less than 40 per cent of them are comfortable with on-line counselling, telephone hotlines or seeking help and advice. 

The Youth Mental Health Report suggested a few key recommendations such as introducing early intervention programmes, creating awareness in schools on mental health, promoting support to those affected, ensuring focus on prevention, using initiatives on the Internet to improve access to these youngsters, making mental health services affordable and building an understanding in families and schools about mental health issues, 

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