Youth Mental Ill Health and High School Completion in Rural Australia

Poster C70, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Siann Bowman1; 1LaTrobe University

The prevalence of mental ill health is high for Australian young people and the onset of depression, anxiety and first episode psychosis (FEP) commonly occurs when the individual is at school. The prevalence is reported to be highest for rural young people and barriers to treatment exist. Current evidence suggests that 40% of young people experiencing depression or anxiety disorders are not completing secondary school. Further evidence shows that over 50% of individuals who experience FEP do not finish secondary school. This study employed a survey methodology to explore the experience of rural and regional Secondary School Principals, Deputy Principals, Teachers and School Counsellors in working with students who experience mental illness (depression, anxiety, at risk mental state, early psychosis and suicide risk) in their school, in the state of Victoria, Australia. It also aimed to establish if they assessed that mental illness was having a negative impact on secondary school completion and whether they had access to effective early intervention mental health services for their students. This presentation will review the evidence of youth mental ill health and its impact on secondary school educational attainment. Survey results will be discussed. Recommendations for future school services to increased early intervention and reduce school dropout due to mental ill health will be explored.

Topic Area: Service System Development and Reform

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