Today is World Mental Health Day.
This year’s theme – ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’ – is aimed at bringing attention to the issues our young people are facing in the world today.
Labor acknowledges, values and respects the tireless work undertaken by youth mental health professionals across the country.
Today is a timely reminder to us all that the level of mental ill health amongst young people is of persistent and increasing concern.
We know that despite the best efforts of governments and sector alike, mental ill health continues to affect far too many young Australians.
In the past 12 months, one in four young people have experienced mental ill health.
Within this group, like all Australians, there is diversity across race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual orientation.
Our young First Nations’ people, LGBTIQ Australians and those living in rural, remote or in low socio-economic status areas have higher incidences of mental ill health.
Young people are the most likely group to have long-term and enduring experiences of mental ill health, with 50 per cent of mental ill health emerging by the age of 14 and 75 per cent before the age of 25.
More broadly recent ABS figures revealed 3,128 Australians died by suicide in 2017 –an increase of 262 deaths from the previous year.
In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-44 years.
These statistics are deeply concerning and heartbreaking.
Labor calls on the Government to adopt the National Mental Health Commission’s target of reducing suicide rates by 50 percent over 10 years as a matter of urgency.
A robust target, backed by real resources from all levels of government and an effective plan that supports long-term reform, is needed to drive change.
Labor knows mental ill health and suicide affects far too many Australians.
World Mental Health Day reminds us all that although a lot of great work has been done we can and must do better.