The latest survey of Australian Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing just came out and has some findings you may find surprising. This is the second such study with the first being conducted in 1998. Over 6,000 families took part in the study conducted by the University of Western Australia. I have highlighted a few of the findings below.
Rates of Anxiety and Depression
You will see by some of the figures that are mentioned below that there are a lot of young people who are falling through the cracks. Some of them are not seen by those close to them as having issues but may be silently suffering. As you are looking at these numbers consider how many classrooms across Australia have seriously distressed young people just trying to make it thorough another term.
- 1 in 20 had a plan of how they would commit suicide in the past year
- 1 in 13 had seriously thought about suicide in the last year
- 1 in 10 teens had self-harmed (3/4 of those did so in last year)
- 13.9% or 1 in 7 had a mental disorder in the past year
- 6.9% had an anxiety disorder
- 2.8% had depression
Factors associated with Anxiety and Depression Rates
Unfortunately, many of the young people who are struggling with anxiety and depression actually have a dual diagnosis. Whether that be in the form of multiple mental health disorders or substance abuse issues starting to develop.
- 1/3 who had a mental disorder actually met criteria for 2 or more
- Over ½ who had depression also had an anxiety disorder
- 45.3% of the girls with depression actually had a plan to commit suicide in the last year
- 26% of the boys with depression had a plan to commit suicide
- 27.6% of the depressed adolescents reported binge drinking in the last month compared to 10.1% of their non-depressed peers
- 13% of the depressed adolescents reported marijuana use in the last month compared to 3.5% of their non-depressed peers
Family’s relationship with Anxiety and Depression
The amount of difference that the family type made in the child’s wellbeing is really striking. This underscores the fact that children suffer when there is a separation as well as the parents. However, it was encouraging to see that the families who had the highest levels of functioning also had the young people with the best mental health. So to all those parents out there that are working hard to get along with your child’s other parent know that your hard work is paying off whether you can see it at the moment or not.
- 4.7% of parents reported they felt their child was depressed
- 7.7% of these same children reported they were depressed
- Over ½ of young people reported parents had little or no knowledge of how they actually felt
- Overall rates of mental disorders were higher for kids from rural areas, lower socioeconomic status, unemployed parents, and parents with lower education levels
- 68.5% of young people with depression from blended families had seriously thought about committing suicide
- 54.9% of those had developed a plan to commit suicide
- 22% of young people from single parent homes had mental disorders followed by blended families at 20.2% & step families at 18.3%
- 10.4% of young people had a mental disorder who were with their original family (natural parents, or adoptive / foster parents without step siblings)
- 35.3% of young people from poorly functioning families had a mental disorder compared to 10.9% for those that functioned very well
Treatment of Anxiety and Depression
With only around half of the young people with mental disorders receiving treatment we have farther to go to meet their needs. However, it is encouraging to see that the rates of teenagers receiving treatment is on the rise.
- 53% of young people with mental disorders received treatment (4-17 y/o)
- Nearly ¼ million young people across Australia who needed treatment in the last year did not receive it
- 65.1% of 14-17 y/o’s received treatment compared to 1/3 in earlier study
- 23.9% of young people with a mental disorder had seen a psychologist
- 20.7% of these young people spoke to a counsellor or family therapist
If you haven’t had enough numbers thrown at you & you want to see the full report go here:
Image via Flickr: martinak15