Fact sheets

Fact sheets

Healthy relationships

Relationships are an important part of life, often providing a sense of connection, belonging and understanding. Adolescence and early adulthood are significant times of change and development. For many young people this means exploring intimate and romantic connections. At times these relationships can be intense or challenging for young people to navigate, sometimes perpetuating or precipitating mental ill-health. This fact sheet is aimed at supporting mental health clinicians to have helpful conversations about relationships with the young people they are working with.

Physical health challenges - The link between physical health and mental health in young people

While the majority of young Australians report good physical and mental health, 1 in 4 aged 12–24 years will experience a diagnosed mental disorder every year (1). The onset of mental illness is accompanied by greater risk of poor physical health outcomes later in life, which can be explained in part by lifestyle factors, social consequences of mental illhealth, and barriers in accessing health care. The life expectancy of people with a serious mental illness is about 13–32 years less than the general population (2). The majority of these deaths are due to the development of physical health conditions that could be prevented. Treatment for mental ill-health is often focused on the presenting symptoms (e.g., low mood) and in the process, monitoring of the person’s physical health might be overlooked. A holistic approach to the wellbeing of young people needs to include considerations of both their physical and mental health.

Getting active and young people

Being active helps maintain your health. We tend to think that the mind and body are separate, but what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental health. And it’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good.

Sleep and young people

Having enough quality sleep is vital to your emotional and physical wellbeing. We sleep so we can be active, focused and feel good during the day.Not being able to get to sleep can be really distressing. If you haven’t been able to rest properly, your body and mind can start doing strange things. Poor sleep can be a vicious cycle – not enough sleep may cause the brain to become more active and an over-stimulated brain is less able to fall asleep.