Inquiry into Youth Mental Health in the ACT: Report Released

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On 13 August 2020 the Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs tabled its report, Inquiry into Youth Mental Health in the ACT, following the Inquiry conducted earlier this year. The Youth Coalition developed a submission and appeared at the public hearing.

With over 60 recommendations, the report describes a broad range of challenges, service gaps, as well as opportunities to improve youth mental health in the ACT. This includes recognising schools as important sites to engage with young people about their mental health; and issues related to local access and affordability. Notably, the report describes the complexities of supporting young people with co-occurring diagnoses or concerns within the existing system, such as alcohol and other drug use, autism and disability, behavioural disorders, or involvement in the homelessness, child protection or youth justice systems. 

The report highlights the unique needs of young people aged 18-25 years old, identifying that these young people have higher levels of psychological distress compared to other age groups in the ACT. In our submission, we discussed the lack of service continuity for young people as they transition into early adulthood and become increasingly independent, with less access to the formal structural supports available through school. This has become increasingly relevant due to the impact of COVID-19 on young people and youth unemployment across Australia.  

The Youth Coalition has advocated for the discrete needs of this group of young people to be considered and appropriately responded to. The Committee recommends that the ACT Government extend youth mental health services to 25, and works with higher education providers to ensure suitable provision of mental health services on campus. We also strongly support the recommendation for the ACT Children and Young People Death Review Committee to include reporting for young people up to the age of 25, in order to identify opportunities for early intervention and prevention of suicides among young people.  

The Youth Coalition is working closely with the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing to progress outcomes from its 2019 Review into Children and Young People’s Mental Health, including the development of a Youth Mental Health Navigation Portal, and a project to scope solutions for young people with moderate mental health issues. 

For more information or to discuss the Report, contact [email protected].

Key Points

With over 60 recommendations, the report describes a broad range of challenges, service gaps, as well as opportunities to improve youth mental health in the ACT

The Committee recommends that the ACT Government extend youth mental health services to 25.

We strongly support the recommendation for the ACT Children and Young People Death Review Committee to include reporting for young people up to the age of 25

The Youth Coalition is working closely with the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing to progress outcomes from its 2019 Review into Children and Young People’s Mental Health

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