Adolescence can be a painful period under even the best circumstances. School work, homework, hormones, burgeoning romance, balancing priorities, learning to drive… It’s more than stressful!
Worst case scenario, the situation is complicated by early-onset mental illness.
Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health have found that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and three-quarters by the age of 24. The study also reveals that an untreated mental disorder can lead to a more severe, more difficult to treat illness, and to the development of co-occurring mental illnesses.
In terrific news, beyondblue has been appointed by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing to lead the redevelopment and delivery of MindMatters through to mid-2016.
MindMatters is the national mental health initiative for secondary schools. The initiative, first implemented in 2000, will be updated to meet the changing mental health needs of Australian school communities. The program will help students in their vulnerable teenage years.
The redeveloped MindMatters initiative will be free to all Australian secondary school communities and will commence in 2014, with the ambitious target of reaching 1500 schools by 2016. The initiative will include training and programs for teachers, students and parents:
- Teachers: How to recognise and support students with mental health difficulties
- Students: How to manage stress and become resilient; how to recognise the signs of mental health difficulties and where to get help
- Parents: Information on current and emerging youth mental health issues and where to access support.
KidsMatter, a program for primary schools, is already underway and has been hugely successful.