Stats and facts

  • One in 16 young Australians is currently experiencing depression
    Breakdown: 6.3% of Australians aged 16 to 24 have experienced an affective disorder in the last 12 months.i* This is equivalent to 180,000 young people today.^

  • One in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition
    Breakdown: 15.4% of Australians aged 16 to 24 have experienced an anxiety** disorder in the last 12 months.ii This is equivalent to 440,000 young people today.
  • One in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition
    Breakdown: 26.4% of Australians aged 16 to 24 currently have experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months.iii This figure includes young people with a substance use disorder. This is equivalent to 750,000 young people today.
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents
    Breakdown: 324 Australians (10.5 per 100,000) aged 15-24 dying by suicide in 2012. This compares to 198 (6.4 per 100,000) who died in car accidents (the second highest killer).iv 
  • Evidence suggests three in four adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24 and half by age 14
    Breakdown: Half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders start by age 14 years and three fourths by age 24 years.v 
  • Young people are most concerned about coping with stress, school or study problems and body image
    Breakdown: In 2015, the top three issues of concern for young people (listed in order of highest concern) were: coping with stress, school or study problems and body image. These top three issues of concern have remained the same since 2013.vi 

  • A small group of young Australians indicate negative feelings with their lives as a whole
    Breakdown: In 2015, when asked to rate how happy they were with their lives as a whole, around 1 in 10 young people (8.8%) responded in the range of 0 to 30 (with 100 being the happiest), indicating that these respondents felt negatively about their lives as a whole.vii 

  • Physical and mental health are highly valued by a large group of young people
    Breakdown: In 2015, around 6 in 10 young people highly valued physical and mental health, with about 3 in 10 respondents (29.6%) ranking it as 'extremely important' and another 3 in 10 respondents (32.7) ranking it as 'very important'.viii

* An affective disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: depressive episode, dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder.

^ This figure, and all current population figures in this section, has been calculated by extrapolating the current Australian 16-24 year-old population from 3101.0 ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2013. The population figure, which is 2,825,000, has then been multiplied by the rate in ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008).

** An anxiety disorder is defined by the ABS in this research as one or more of the following: panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

i ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 29

ii ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 29

iii ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 9

iv 3303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2012 (2014). Underlying causes of death (Australia) Table 1.3

v Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR & Walters EE (2005).  Lifetime prevalence and age of onset distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication.  Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, p 593

vi Mission Australia. 2015. Youth survey report 2015. Available from: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey

vii Mission Australia. 2015. Youth survey report 2015. Available from: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey

viii Mission Australia. 2015. Youth survey report 2015. Available from: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey