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Toward a twenty-first century approach to youth mental health care: Some Australian initiatives

journal contribution
posted on 2011-07-01, 00:00 authored by R Purcell, S Goldstone, J Moran, D Albiston, Jane Edwards, K Pennell, P McGorry
Mental health difficulties are easily the key health issue faced by adolescents and young adults in the developed world today. Epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence and prevalence of the mental disorders, as well as their contribution to the overall burden of disease, is highest in those in the 15 to 24 year age group, and yet young people in this age range are the least likely to access services for mental health problems. This issue is particularly problematic given that untreated, or poorly treated, mental disorders are associated with ongoing disability, including impaired social functioning, poor educational achievement, unemployment, substance abuse, and violence that all too often leads to a cycle of dysfunction and disadvantage that is difficult to break. Young people tend to be reluctant to discuss emotional concerns with a general practitioner if indeed they have a regular doctor, and the traditional mental health services, which cater to the needs of children or older adults, are highly alienating to young people. A new approach to mental health services for young people is clearly needed-one that considers young people's unique developmental issues, their help-seeking needs and behaviors, and the complex and evolving patterns of symptoms and morbidity common in this age group. This article describes Australian innovation in the provision of youth mental health services, which has been informed by an evidence-based approach and dedicated advocacy, that seeks to contribute to this much needed reform process. © 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved.

History

Journal

International Journal of Mental Health

Volume

40

Issue

2

Pagination

72 - 87

ISSN

0020-7411

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