Young people in regional and rural areas are crying out for more mental health services.
Data from Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2016 shows one in four young people in areas such as Dubbo have a probable serious mental illness. About 52 per cent of young people said they had a problem which needed professional help but didn’t access it.
The prevalence of mental illness doesn’t differ from urban areas, however access to services is much poorer, said Mission Australia CEO James Toomey.
“Mental health concerns know no geographical or cultural boundaries; however, the provision of services does. Our research shows that young people in regional and remote communities struggle to access the same level of support services as young people in urban areas,” he said.
“We know that young people turn to their friends and family for support, so we need to provide parents, carers, teachers, counsellors and sporting coaches with the appropriate skills and support to help.”
CEO of Reach Out – an online service that provides support to young people – Jono Nicholas said embarrassment, fear and cost where all barriers to young people accessing the help they needed.
“Access to appropriate and timely support can make a real difference in young people’s lives, and we need to harness the potential of digital technologies to deliver the services and supports young people want, when and where they need them,” Mr Nicholas said.
“Further, investment in evidence-based mental health and wellbeing programs delivered through schools can help equip and support young people to deal with worries and stresses, and if needed, get additional support.”
The Youth Survey showed the top two sources of support for young people were friends, with 82 per cent agreeing they would ask friends for help, and parents at 77 per cent. The data also found 43 per cent of young people would use the internet to seek advice.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.