Joint statement on youth mental health priorities
The COVID-19 pandemic, domestic and global tragedies have placed an unprecedented toll on the mental health and wellbeing of young Australians.
The demand for youth mental health services has increased exponentially with a 25 per cent increase in the incidence of depression and anxiety since the start of the COVID19 pandemic with young people among the groups most affected.
Holistic support services need to be bolstered long-term to respond to the ongoing psychological, financial and social impacts of the pandemic.
Mental health matters this election, with 8 in 10 Australians indicating that mental health should be a top priority for the next Australian Government and 7 in 10 undecided voters considering it a pressing issue. Only a third of Australians ranked access to mental health care for young people as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ compared to 76% for GP and 60% for dental care.
The sector – including Orygen, Batyr, ReachOut Australia, Mission Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition – is eager to work with the next federal government to build a stronger youth mental health system by:
- increasing access across the breadth of required youth mental health services including community-based support, peer-to-peer, prevention, early intervention and postvention;
- providing new mental health services for young people with more serious and complex mental health issues;
- improving education and workforce participation for young people;
- providing specific funding for programs and services dedicated to reducing self-harm and suicide among young people;
- building a multidisciplinary youth mental health workforce to meet current and future need;
- improving youth mental health through data, research and better outcome measurement;
- investing in digital service capabilities and innovative evidence-based online supports; and
- increasing access to support services for families and allies supporting young people experiencing mental health issues.
 YouGov. Australia’s Attitude to Youth Mental Health 2022: Results of a national Orygen/YouGov Poll. February 2022.