News

Lack of rural mental health services puts youth at risk

John Gass

RURAL and regional children are struggling to find the right mental health support according to an in depth Federal report into the mental wellbeing of our youth.

The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents report released by the Federal Ministry for Health revealed startling figures of young people dealing with mental illness.

A lack of access to mental health services in the Clarence Valley and other mitigating factors including cost, distance and privacy are combining to make it difficult for our kids to seek the help they need.

Mental health social worker at Greenway Cottage Jodie Johnson said the difference in government spending puts Clarence children at risk of developing serious mental health issues.

"We have a serious lack of services in the rural towns," Ms Johnson said. "I have a waiting list that is quite long because there are not many other practitioners in the Clarence Valley.

RELATED: Hogan: We need to do more for our kids' mental health

"Our mental health services are very full due to a lack of resources. Most community health services have backlogs up to six months.

"When it comes to dealing with the mental health of children the earlier you get in the better.

"It is really critical that children are looked after from an early age because children are developing all the time and illnesses such as anxiety, depression and ADHD can seriously affect their development process."

The report also revealed that socio-economic and environmental factors played a major part in the prevalence of mental health issues in youths.

Children who were part of a blended family or a single parent family were twice as likely to be diagnosed with mental illness compared to those living with their original family.

In both of these demographics more than one in five youths were diagnosed with a mental illness and for boys in a single parent families the prevalence of mental illness climbed to one in four.

Household income is also a factor that determines the prevalence of mental illness with all of the differing illnesses doubling in prevalence for households earning less than $50,000 compared to those earning more than $130,000.

Major depressive disorders jumped from 1.8% in children in households earning more than $130,000 to 3.8% for children in households earning less than $50,000. Anxiety disorders jumped from 5% to 10.6%, ADHD jumped from 5.2% to 11.7% and conduct disorders or oppositional behaviour disorders climbed from 0.8% to an alarming 4.3% prevalence.

Ms Johnson said these statistics were extremely alarming for kids in the Clarence Valley due to the high unemployment rate in the area.

"Where you are looking at a family with one parent or blended, the rate of prevalence almost doubles which is really scary," she said. "I think it is a big issue for the Clarence Valley. I see a lot of single parent or blended families in the area.

"We also see a lot of unemployment or even underemployment in the Valley which lends itself to seeing youths getting stuck in an intergenerational poverty trap.

"The low socio-economic status of the family negatively affects the child's mental health which in turn affects their chance to learn and retain information which immediately puts them at an economic disadvantage later in life."

Ms Johnson is unsure of the first step in combating the problem which has remained the same since the last youth mental illness report in 1998.

"These rates really have not changed since 1989 which is quite scary," she said.

"Things have not improved even with the increases in funding in the years since.

"The health service in Australia is in a crisis and it is now affecting mental health funding.

"We definitely need improved funding and improved services in regional Australia to help combat the issue."

Topics:  mental health teenagers wellbeing youth



Hill leads DEX Premier League Team of the Week

Easts batsman Ben Hill during the CRCA match between Easts and Brothers at Ellem Oval on Saturday, 13th February, 2016. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

The DEX sports desk reveals its Premier League team of the week.

Big waves, strong winds expected to smash our coastline

Warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology

VIDEO: Severe storm brings light show to Valley

Lightning flashes across the sky above the Clarence River.

An overnight thunderstorm brought heavy rains and light show.

Local Partners

Harmony takes her next big step

BRAVE Grafton girl Harmony Fielden will undergo another major operation in Sydney's Westmead Hospital to help correct the symptoms of a mystery condition.


How people power stopped the gas mines

Iluka resident and character in the film, Ian Gaillard, addresses the crowd of anti-CSG protesters at Bentley.

Award-winning documentary to be screened in the Clarence Valley

Bored? Here's 9 things to do this weekend

The Clarence Valley Mental Health Fishing Group are holding a Christmas fishing event at Memorial Park.

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Bringing their Magic Mojo to Grafton

MAGIC: Head down to Roches Family Hotel for a brilliant mix of '70s, '80s and '90s music by Magic Mojo, a Coffs Coast band using their experience to give a brilliant performance.

Powerful trio to lift the top off Roches Hotel tonight

Ricky Gervais: There's 'no point' marrying Jane Fallon

RICKY Gervais "doesn't see the point" in marrying Jane Fallon.

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!