Tenten Billion Reasons To Invest In Youth Mental Health

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9th December 2009, 07:41pm - Views: 617




MEDIA RELEASE
Embargoed:12.01am Thursday 10 Dec 2009

TEN BILLION REASONS TO INVEST IN YOUTH
MENTAL HEALTH

A key report* released today indicates the dramatic cost to the community of mental illness in Australia's
youth. These new findings indicate that in 2009, the financial cost of mental illness in people aged 12-25 was
$10.6 billion, with the majority due to lost productivity due to lower employment, absenteeism and premature
death. This equates to $10,544 per annum per young Australian with a mental health disorder.

Launching the report today, headspace CEO Chris Tanti emphasised its significance, "This report is the first
to estimate the costs of youth mental health disorders in Australia. Until now there has been a paucity of
information regarding the economic burden of mental illness in this age group.

"Mental ill health impacts on young people's ability to study, work, contribute to community, live independently
and maintain relationships. All these things contribute directly or indirectly to the economy and the prosperity
of this nation," said Mr Tanti.

Mental health is a leading area of concern to young Australians (Mission Australia 2009) because it is the key
health issue faced by young people. Mental health disorders account for over 50% of the total disease burden
in Australian youth, led by depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia1.
Almost 24% of Australians aged 12-25 years experience a mental disorder in any year. This equates to
478,000 males and 526,000 females.

"Australia faces substantial costs arising from mental illness in young people. Since 75% of mental health
disorders emerge before the age of 252, preventative or early interventions targeted to young people have the
capacity to generate greater personal, social and economic benefits than intervention at any other time in the
lifespan," said headspace Centre of Excellence Coordinator, Associate Professor Rosemary Purcell, Orygen
Youth Health Research Centre.

Early, effective intervention, targeting young people aged 12 25 years should be a community and
Government priority.

This report is the clearest evidence yet of the value of this approach, and gives us more than ten billion
reasons to invest in youth mental health.

*The economic impact of youth mental illness and the cost effectiveness of early intervention, Access
Economics 2009

For Media enquiries, please call Karalee Evans on 0408 174 589

To access the full report please click here or go to: www.headspace.org.au



1. 1 Begg, S, Vos, T, Barker, B, et al. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. Canberra; 2007.

2. 2 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' Arch Gen Psychiatry 62(6):593-602.

ABN 26 137 533 843
headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation, is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing under the Youth Mental Health Initiative Program.


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