Stats and facts

  • Around one in 35 young Australians aged 4-17 experience a depressive disorder. 
    Breakdown: 2.8% of Australians aged 4-17 have experienced an affective disorder.* This is equivalent to 112,000 young people.1
  • One in 20 (5%) of young people aged 12-17 years had experienced a major depressive disorder between 2013-14.2    

  • One in fourteen young Australians (6.9%) aged 4-17 experienced an anxiety disorder in 2015. This is equivalent to approximately 278,000 young people.
    Breakdown: 6.9% of Australians aged 4-17 experienced an anxiety** disorder in 2015.This is equivalent to 278,000 young people.
  • 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 
  • 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.

** 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.

1The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Available from: www.health.gov.au

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

3The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Available from: www.health.gov.au 

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

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