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> "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide"


Did You Know?

Youth depression in Australia is very widespread, and the problem of suicide in Australia is getting worse. In 2015 there were 3027 suicides, versus 2118 in 2006. In terms of years of potential life lost suicide is the worst amongst all causes of death.

Mission Australia's National Youth Survey results showed that 52.6% of 2657 young people surveyed in 2002 ranked Depression & Suicide in the top 3 of 10 issues that they faced: with Family Issues, Abuse/Sexual Assault and Alcohol & Other Drugs ranking 2nd to 4th, all at around 39%. In the 2003 survey, Depression & Suicide moved further ahead.

"By 18 years of age, up to 24% of young people have suffered at least one period of major depression. Up to 40% of young people suffer from depressed mood in any six month period, and 5% suffer from depressive syndrome."(1)

These depression issues build into suicide and self harm rates in Australia that are high in absolute terms, and Australia ranks very poorly in international comparisons (double the rate in the UK!).

Suicide caused 85,000 years of potential life lost (dying before 75) in 2001, 11% of the total due to all causes of death, and is on a rising trend. This is exactly the opposite of what is happening for other causes of death, as health care and living standards improve over time.

"Only one in four children and adolescents with mental health problems had received professional help for their problems in the previous six months."(2)

Reasons young people don't access help for their depression include: lack of awareness of their problems; fear of adults, confidentiality and hospitalisation risks; feelings of helplessness; financial concerns about accessing specialised help outside the 'youth unfriendly' public mental health system, etc.(3)

(1) “Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Young People in Australia”, National Mental Health Working Group, Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council, Commonwealth of Australia. Feb. 2004. Depressive syndrome is the co-occurrence of depressive with other emotional symptoms.
(2) National Mental Health Working Group, ibid
(3) National Mental Health Working Group, ibid
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