A groundbreaking national survey has cast an alarming light on the high number of Australian children and teenagers suffering from serious mental health issues, without their parents knowledge.
The survey found that hundreds of thousands of children, as many as one in 10, from as early as four years of age have mental health disorders. The findings also show widespread anxiety, self-harm and depression.
It’s estimated about 560,000 children experienced a mental health disorder in the past year, with 1 in 13 children aged between 12 and 17 seriously considering suicide.
Experts say the research needs to be taken seriously by medical professionals and parents, who need to pick up cues when young people are unwell and at risk. It also found a need for increased services to address the children’s mental wellbeing needs.
The survey is the first to research how common anxiety disorders are, with nearly 7 per cent of children suffering from them.
Lead author David Lawrence is an expert in the field of child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing, and a a Research Professor at The University of Western Australia, seconded to the Telethon Kids Institute.
Has your family grappled with this difficult issue?