The scary state of our grandchildren’s mental health 10



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The largest ever national survey of youth mental health of its kind has just been revealed, what it tells us about teenage depression, self-harm and suicide is harrowing to say the least.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley has presented the landmark ‘Second Australian Child and Adolescent survey of Mental Health and Well-Being’ of over 6300 families and youths aged 4-17, with the last in 1998.

Amongst the sad news is a silver lining: young Australians seeking help has doubled and their preferred method of dealing with mental health issues are by engaging in sports, exercise and healthy eating.

The comprehensive survey found one in seven children and young people experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months – that’s the equivalent of 560,000 young Australians.

Ms Ley said while that number was still high, it had stabilised over the past 17 years in a positive sign of change. However, Ms Ley said she was concerned about the rise in major depressive disorder over the same period.

The survey also alarmingly found as many as one in 10 teenagers – or about 186,000 – had engaged in some form of self-harm in their life, including a staggering quarter of teenage girls aged 16-17.

About one in 13 teenagers (aged 12 to 17) also contemplated suicide – the equivalent of 128,000 youth – with one in 20 reportedly making a plan to take their own life and one in 40 attempting it. Suicide is still the biggest killer of people under 25.

“As a parent it’s heartbreaking to see these prevalent stories of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal tendencies amongst our young people, let alone as Health Minister,” Ms Ley said.

“But it’s also a credit to young Australians, and society as a whole, that so many youths are now not only bravely opening up about their emotions and behaviours, they’re actively seeking out help and taking positive actions to manage them.

“We must recognise in years gone by many of these cases we’re hearing about today would have simply gone unaccounted for while people suffered in silence.

“However, when I see figures showing the majority of young people are now looking to join a sports team or activity, talk to a friend, or improve their diet to address mental health issues instead of turning to drugs, smoking or alcohol, that makes me immensely proud.

“There’s no doubt raising awareness is only half the battle – we need positive outcomes as well – but surveys such as this spur me on to ensure we get this current mental health reform right first time”.

The Australian Government is working with the mental health sector on long-term reform of the mental health sector and the way we help our children and grandchildren.

“Mental health is often a difficult conversation for parents and their children to have, but these figures mean it is an important one to pursue for everyone’s sake.

“Ironically we are only finding out about these confronting trends because young people and their families are speaking up and reaching out and we’ve come too far to take a backward step now”. Do you agree?

Schools played an important role in identifying and managing mental health conditions so more needs to be done to support the teachers and assistants who have an insight into our grandchildren’s lives from 8am-3pm, five days a week.

The survey also found that stigma and poor awareness of mental health issues were identified as the main issues for teenagers 13-17 with major depressive disorder not seeking help for further support, and one in seven mental disorders were considered severe (15%), while 25% were considered moderate.


So today we want to know, where should help start? Does the government need to do more? Is this a personal issue for you?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Mental Heath is always underfunded and it is hard for young people. Adults need to be more understanding and less judgmental.

  2. We Protect and Shelter our Kids to much Today, they get a snivel and we run to the DR. they get hurt and we cuddle them, are we really preparing them for Live, when I came home with a Scraped up Knee or a bleeding Cut, my Mother wiped the blood of put some Iodine on it, and said to me do not worry about it, the Head is still on Keep Going!!!!! No fuss we ate Apples from the Tree, Trunk Water from the Creek eat Vegies from the Ground, and where very seldom Sick!!!!!!!

    2 REPLY
    • That’s probably why you were not sick often. You ate natural food. Today children are exposed to all sorts of processed rubbish and ipads. They don’t go outside to play, their parents do t spend time playing with them. Grandchildren need personal contact to absorb humanity and interact with people NOT computers.

    • Think you are both overlooking the fact that society and everything with it has changed. Many kids at a very young age have more worries than picking fruit off a tree or water from a creek. Mario, you talk about iPads. How did you make your statement on this site. Is a computer different. No, it’s onlyy one of the many things that have changed family life, as did TV when it came around when I was a child. Can we go back, no, can we make families sort their problems, no. So look for solutions. I understand where you are coming from but we can’t go backwards. What can we do with what we have is the question. Mmmm. Maybe our trusty polies will have answers. Lol.

  3. It is a shame that so many young people feel like this, l think it is because they don’t socialize nowadays like we did, we would go out and spend time chatting or seeing a movie we weren’t sitting around on a computer talking to who knows who it is , or texting on a phone.We are supposed to socialize that’s what humans do. But then again you can’t be always safe when out on your own. It is time now for the Government to do so e thing about the abuse ou r streets eveN if it means getting vigilante groups to walk the streets to keep them safe. The time has come with all the murders and rapes that are happening the police aren’t enough, every one should be able to ho out and come home safe.

  4. You only have to sit in the family court for a day to realise why so many kids have mental health issues. Parents are using kids like chess pieces, and they wonder why the kids are damaged.

  5. We all have to learn how to be our own best friends and pass on the knowledge to our children and in some cases our grandchildren.

  6. Depression is the new Cancer….The Mental Health system has been broken for years and getting worse…..Funding has continued to be cut even though need has increased….World Health Organization has said by the year 2020,Depression will be the 2nd biggest killer worldwide……AND STILL THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUE TO CUT FUNDING!!!!……Noone like talking about Mental Health Issues,which enables the Government to continue to do nothing!!!!!….Shame,Shame,Shame!!!!!!

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