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 in that order
    Breakdown: The top issues of concern to young people in 2013 were, in order, coping with stress, school or study problems, body image, depression and family conflict.vi 
  • Concern about mental health among young people is growing
    Breakdown: 15.2% identified mental health as a major issue facing Australia in 2013, up from 12.7% in 2012 and 10.7% in 2011.vii 
  • Young people see mental health as a more important issue than things such as the environment, bullying, education and employment
    Breakdown: In 2013, young people saw mental health as a more important issue than things such as the environment, bullying, education and employment.viii
  • A quarter of young Australians say they are unhappy with their lives
    Breakdown: In 2013, almost one in four young people (24.3%) said they were sad, very sad or not happy when asked to report how happy they were with their life as a whole.ix 

* 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 youth survey 2013 p 18

vii Mission Australia youth survey 2013 p 23

viii Mission Australia youth survey 2013 p 23

ix Mission Australia youth survey 2013 p 25