Like all of us, young people can feel a bit down sometimes. Everyday frustrations, disappointments, problems at school, troubles in the family or any stressful event can cause this feeling. However, if these feelings go on for more than two weeks and start to affect their daily life, it may be a symptom of Depression or another condition. Anxiety may also affect young people as they feel pressure to do well at school and negotiate changing peer and family relationships. For those who are genetically vulnerable to developing these conditions, the stressors may seem insignificant to other people, but are enough to trigger symptoms.
It can be difficult for parents, friends, and young people themselves to tell the difference between signs of a mental health problem and the changes in mood and behaviour that are a normal part of growing up. As well as the family GP, specialist treatment and support services for young people are also available.
Young people and children also need support when they have a parent, sibling, or other family member affected by mental illness. Many young people in this situation take on a caring role themselves. Most States and Territories have specialist services to help young people in this situation. See below for details.
Support services for young people affected by mental illness
A web-based support service for young people going through tough times, with practical tools and support, including online forums.
1800 650 890
Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds.
1800 55 1800
A 7-day, 24-hour counselling service for children and young people aged 5-25 years. Available by telephone and online.
A mental health and wellbeing framework for primary schools and early childhood education and care services.
Out and On-line
An online program to improve wellbeing and reduce mental health symptoms in same-gender attracted youth aged 18-25 years, providing early intervention for of Anxiety and Depression.
Parentline QLD & NT
Phone: 1300 30 1300 (cost of a local call)
8am to 8pm, seven days a week
Phone: 13 22 89 (cost of a local call)
8am to Midnight, 7 days a week
Parent Helpline SA
Phone: 1300 364 100 (cost of a local call)
24 hours a day, seven days a week
Phone: 1300 1300 52 (cost of a local call)
9am to 9pm Monday-Friday
4pm to 9pm Saturday and Sunday
Parenting WA Line
Phone: (08) 6279 1200 or 1800 654 432 (free for STD callers)
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Phone: (02) 6287 3833 (cost of a local call)
Parenting Line TAS
Phone: 1300 808 178 (cost of a local call)
Support for young people in families affected by mental illness
COPMI (Children Of Parents with a Mental Illness)
National resource centre for health professionals and others working to support children in families affected by mental illness, including information about local services available in each State and Territory.
A story-based online resource with information and tips for young people who have a family member with mental illness.