15 Mar. 2012

Interesting mental health statistics


So much has been happening in the Youth Sector these last few months, the Youth Space has barely had time to scratch it’s collective head!  Good news, bad news, lots of uncertainty – but one thing is for certain, out of all the craziness we’ve come to learn as an industry that there’s strength in numbers and in working collaboratively together.

We have some big plans for next year, as the Youth Space continues to grow and evolve into a truly holistic service that aims to do the absolute best by the young people who need us.  We’ll be launching our social enterprise, the UCRE8 Project, next year and we’ll also be exploring new funding opportunities and hopefully bringing in new programs to our region.

Most importantly, though, today (Wednesday the 7th of December), we’re saying good bye to a bunch of our amazing young people who are graduating from our Checkpoint flexi-school and our Get Set for Work program.  About 30 amazing young men and women will be going out into the world today to either return to school, go on to other learning opportunities, or embrace a brand new working life.  We’re so proud of each of them, and we’re going to miss them like crazy!  If any of you are reading this, please remember that we’re here for you when you need us.  Drop by and tell us how things are going for you, and if you need help with anything just come and ask.  We’re always happy to have visitors and everything we do is all about helping young people to have a better, stronger, happier life!

Now, we need to change track a little and talk about a more serious issue.  This morning some brand new statistics from the Mental Health Social Support Service came to us.  They’re pretty sobering:

45% of adult Australians will experience a mental illness.
1 in 5 will experience a mental disorder in any 12-month period.
Mental illness is the leading cause of ‘healthy’ life lost.
3 million Australians will experience a major depressive illness.

Frighteningly, our young people are the most at risk:

An shocking 26% of 16-24 year olds have experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months!
Mental disorders are the leading contributor to the total burden of disease among young Australians – accounting for 49% of that total.
12% of 13-17 year olds have reported having suicidal thoughts.

These statistics are shocking and the bad news is our mental health system can’t cope with the numbers.  Mental health is the third largest contributor to the total national health burden yet it only gets 6% of the total expenditure on health – most of that goes into clinical service provision and not into early intervention.

If this concerns you, we encourage you to go to www.mhfa.aipc.net.au and read up on ways you can help.

If someone in your life is having issues with their mental health, or is just feeling down, sometimes the best thing we can do is simply ask them if they’re okay.  You’d be surprised how much bad stuff can be prevented by reaching out the hand of friendship and checking in with someone you know or someone in your family.  From there, you can get in touch with professionals if you’re still worried and possibly save a life, or save someone a fair bit of anguish.

Who should you check in with if you’re really concerned?

Here are a few great suggestions:

– www.suicidepreventionaust.org/
– www.suicideprevention.com.au
– www.livingisforeveryone.com.au/
– www.health.gov.au

– Lifeline: 13 11 14
– Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
– The Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
– Lifeline’s Standby Response Service: Brisbane 0438 150 180 and Sunshine Coast 0407 766 961.

You can also call your local Youth Service – just be aware that the demands on Youth Services are pretty extreme.  We should know, we are one!  Sometimes it’s best to drop in and say hi rather than make a phone call.

Remember – check in with the people in your life.  Ask them if they’re okay and ask how things are going, and be ready to be a good listener and give a big hug.  Sometimes all it takes is a good friend being attentive to save a life.

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