Parents fail to recognise signs of mental illness in their kids

RAISING AWARENESS: headspace Maitland services manager Felicity Scott with clinical lead Liz Vause .Parents are failing to recognise the symptoms of depression in their children and are unaware of where to seek help, a landmark youth mental health and wellbeing survey has revealed.
Nanjing Night Net

The federal government report surveyed 6300 families – including children, teenagers and their parents – and provides a comprehensive picture of the mental health of young Australians.

The survey found rates of depression in 11- to 17-year-olds almost doubled (4.7 per cent to 7.7 per cent) when the young people filled out the survey, as opposed to their parents, in a scenario also echoed across Maitland.

“We would definitely see the similarities of parents not knowing what to do or not being able to recognise mental health issues from normal teenage behaviour, Maitland headspace clinical lead Liz Vause said.

“But surveys like this are ­helpful because they show us where we need to go. There is still a stigma attached to mental illness, so there is still more we can do.”

Headspace CEO Chris Tanti said, while many of the statistics in the report were alarming, it would hopefully encourage parents to become more vigilant about changes in their child’s mood or behaviour.

“Parents are key in helping young people get support, ­particularly mothers of young men, so knowing the signs and symptoms that something might be wrong and how to get help is vital,” Mr Tanti said.

Last year, headspace launched an advertising campaign aimed at parents of 12- to 16-year-olds to increase awareness of its services.

The print and broadcast campaign runs nationally.

Mr Tanti said there were too many people struggling with ­complex issues and the report highlighted urgent action was needed in a number of areas.

“The mental health system needs to be further simplified to make it as easy and seamless as possible for young people and their parents to get the type of help they need.

“One way of doing this is making sure services are well advertised, accessible and delivered face-to-face, online and in schools.”

* If you or anyone you know needs help phone the headspace phone line for parents and young people on 1800 650 890.

What the study found:One in 10 teenagers (12-17 years) indicated they had engaged in some form of self-harming behaviourOne in seven children and young people (equivalent to 560,000)experienced a mental healthdisorder in the last yearMales are more likely than females to have experienced a mental health issueSelf-harm in teenagers was found to be around twice as high in females as ­in malesStigma and poor awareness of mental health issues wereidentified as the main issues for teenagers (13-17) with majordepressive disorder not seekinghelp.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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