Stats and facts

  • Around one in 16 young people aged 16-24 experienced conditions like depression in 2007. This is equivalent to around 180,000 young people today.
    Breakdown: 6.3% of Australians aged 16 to 24 have experienced an affective disorder in 2007.i* This is equivalent to 180,000 young people .^
  • One in 20 (5%) of young people aged 12-17 years had experienced a major depressive disorder between 2013-14.2    

  • One in six young Australians (aged 16–24) had experienced and anxiety disorder in 2007. This is equivalent to approximately 440,000 young people today.
    Breakdown: 15.4% of Australians aged 16 to 24 experienced an anxiety** disorder in 2007.This is equivalent to 440,000 young people.
  • Now one in 14 (7%) young people aged between 12-17 years has one or more anxiety disorder.4

  • 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.5 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).6 
  • 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.7 
  • 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 2013.8

  • 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.9

  • 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'.10

  • Around one in four young people aged 15-19 years report that they have experienced unfair treatment or discrimination and the three main reasons for this were reported as gender, race/cultural background and age reasons.11

  • People experiencing mental health conditions generally report more experiences of being treated positively than of being avoided or discriminated against, particularly from friends, loved ones and family members.12

  • Racism has can have really negative effects on young people’s health, education and social life and these effects can be carried for many years into adulthood.13

  • Around one in three young Australian adults aged 18-24 years report experiencing racial discrimination because of their skin colour, ethnic origin or religion.14

  • Around one in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 15–24 years report experiencing discrimination because they were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.15

  • Approximately one in four people with type 2 diabetes experience depression and one in six with type 2 diabetes experience anxiety.16

  • Approximately one in four young people aged 13-19 years with Type 1 Diabetes experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.17

* 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.

1ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 29

2ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 29

3Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR (2015) The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Department of Health, Canberra.

4ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 29

5ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007 (2008), p 9

63303.0 ABS Causes of Death, Australia, 2012 (2014). Underlying causes of death (Australia) Table 1.3

7Kessler 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

8Mission Australia. 2015. Youth survey report 2015. Available from: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey

9Mission Australia. 2015. Youth survey report 2015. Available from: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey

10Mission Australia. 2015. Youth survey report 2015. Available from: www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey

11Bailey, V. and Baker, A-M. et al. 2016, Mission Australia’s 2016 Youth Survey Report, Mission Australia

12Nicola J ReavleyAnthony F Jorm. 2015. Experiences of discrimination and positive treatment in people with mental health problems: Findings from an Australian national survey. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 49(10) 906–913. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com

13Priest, N., Y. Paradies, et al. (2013). “A systematic review of studies examining the relationship between reported racism and health and wellbeing for children and young people.” Social Science & Medicine 95(115-127)

14Markus. A. 2016. Mapping Social Cohesion 2016: National Report. Victoria: Scanlon Foundation. Available from: http://scanlonfoundation.org.au

15Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2012. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011. Available from:http://www.abs.gov.au

16Speight J, Browne JL, Holmes-Truscott E, Hendrieckx C, Pouwer F, on behalf of the Diabetes MILES – Australia reference group (2011). Diabetes MILES – Australia 2011 Survey Report. Melbourne: Diabetes Australia

17Speight J, Hagger V, Trawley S, Hendrieckx C, Browne JL, Cheney J, Pouwer F, Cameron F, Skinner TC, Scibilia R on behalf of the Diabetes MILES Youth reference group (2015). Diabetes MILES Youth Study 2014 Survey Report. Diabetes Victoria, Melbourne