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The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents: Report on the second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing

Publishing organisation: Department of Health, Australian Government

Year of publication: 2015

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Data is based on a survey conducted with over 6,300 families with children and/or adolescents aged four to 17 years of age. Key data from the survey includes:

  • 13.9% of four to 17 year olds were assessed as having mental disorders in the previous 12 months – equivalent to 560,000 children.
  • 30% of children and adolescents with a disorder had two or more mental disorders in the previous 12 months.
  • 17% of children and adolescents had used services for emotional or behavioural problems in the past 12 months.
  • 56% of children and adolescents with mental disorders had used services for emotional and behavioural problems in the past 12 months.
  • 26.8% of parents and carers reported that their child or adolescent needed help for emotional or behavioural problems in the previous 12 months. Of this number, 42.9% had their needs fully met, and 27.3% had their needs partially met.
  • 10.9% of 12-17 year olds reported having ever self-harmed, and this rate was roughly twice as high in females compared with males.
  • 7.5% of 12-17 year olds had seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months.
  • Compared with the first survey, six to 17 year olds are using services at much higher rates than previously. In 1998 31.2% of children and adolescents with mental disorders had used services over the past six months. In contrast, in 2013-2014 68.3% of this population used services, however this was measured over a 12 month period.