Australia

One in four young Australians 'in psychological distress'

An upset woman holding her head in her hands Image copyright Science Photo Library

Almost a quarter of young Australians are living with "probable serious mental illness", according to a study.

The number of people aged 15-19 in psychological distress is higher than five years ago, said the report by a charity and a mental health group.

It also showed girls and indigenous Australians are more likely to suffer serious mental illness.

The report recommended more investment in evidence-based online support tools and improving mental health education.

Key areas of concern for young people include coping with stress, school and study problems, and depression, according to the Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute findings.

Teens living with "probable serious mental illness"
Year Females Males Total
2016 29% 14% 23%
2015 27% 14% 21%
2014 26% 14% 22%
2013 26% 14% 21%
2012 23% 13% 19%
Source: Mission Australia Youth Survey 2012-2016

"Adolescence comes with its own set of challenges for young people," said Mission Australia chief executive Catherine Yeomans.

"But we are talking about an alarming number of young people facing serious mental illness, often in silence and without accessing the help they need."

Black Dog Institute director Helen Christensen said: "These findings confirm that mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st Century, and one that has to be tackled by the community, health services and families."

If you are feeling distressed and would like details of organisations in the UK which offer advice and support, go online to bbc.co.uk/actionline. In Australia, you can find similar information at Black Dog Institute and Lifeline.

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