Every three hours in Australia someone takes their own life. In that time, 15 young people aged between 12 and 17 years make an attempt. Both of those figures are shocking and upsetting. Mental health issues now affect more and more young people and communities are seeing the results.
Youth mental illness does not only cause problems for the person today but takes its toll throughout their life. Mental health problems affect a young person’s psychological growth and development as well as their social development. It affects their physical health care needs and their education and eventual job and career.
In fact, the cost to productivity is counted in the billions of dollars as a young person with an untreated mental illness will have difficulty finding and maintaining a job or being engaged in education. They are also more likely to come into conflict with the police and criminal justice system.
Each year on average, 26 percent of people between the ages of 16 to 24 years have a mental disorder but only one in three seek assistance. In the past this has been due to lack of services for the young person. Now, we are much more aware of how we may work with the person at this time of their life so as to try and avoid the problems in later adult life.
Any mental health condition may affect a young person but the most common are anxiety, problems regulating their mood and eating disorders. But many more may be added to this list.
- Stephen Carroll, mental health nurse, counsellor and psychotherapist. M: 0403 981 055