Youth Mental Health

Orygen’s goal is to reduce the impact of mental ill-health on young people, their families and society.

Youth is the peak period for the emergence of mental ill-health, with the onset of most mental disorders falling from the early teens to the mid-20s, reaching a peak in the early 20s.

Today one million young Australians experience mental health problems with direct consequences on their well-being, ability to complete education, establish social networks, begin sexual relationships and move into employment.

What are mental illnesses?

Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health issues, with one in five adolescents experiencing a diagnosable depressive episode by the age of 18 years.

Mental illnesses such as the psychotic disorders, personality disorders and bipolar disorder are less prevalent but have the potential to create severe long-term disability unless treated early and adequately with a focus on recovery.

Why is youth mental health everyone’s business?

The impact of mental ill-health in young people is significant. It is felt by their family, friends, their workplaces and society.

A report prepared by Access Economics estimated that the financial cost to Australia of mental illness in young people aged 12–25 was $10.6 billion in 2009, approximately 70% of which is productivity lost due to lower employment, absenteeism and premature death of young people with mental illness.

What can be done?

Orygen’s researchers and clinicians work directly with young people, their families and friends to help reduce the impact of mental ill-health and to address solvable problems.

Our work over the years has gathered compelling evidence of both unmet need and the availability of solutions that we use to inform better public understanding, interventions and policy.

We are focused on tapping the enormous potential for further future development of better treatments and improved service design for young people with mental ill-health.