Aussie teens turning to medication to cope with crippling mental health

·

One in 13 Australian teenagers is taking antidepressants and other prescription drugs for mental illness, as high anxiety fuels childhood depression and suicide, The Daily Telegraph reports.

An increase in teenage anxiety is being brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the added pressures of schooling, social media and a lack of physical social interaction.

Australian Primary Principals Association president Malcolm Elliott said as a result of these factors, distressed children have started to self-harm in primary school.

“There are high levels of family breakdown, uncertainty over employment and you chuck in the blinder of COVID-19 and it’s a climate of worry,’’ he told News Corp Australia.

Malcolm Elliott, a former principal and president of the Australian Primary Principals Association. Photo: The Australian

“There just isn’t enough psychological support for students in schools.

“They’re nervous, they lack personal confidence and they’re not able to go with the flow – they perceive a threat at every turn.

“That can lead to conflict in the playground and the classroom.’’

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data reveals that 2312 toddlers and preschoolers were prescribed drugs for mental health issues in 2018/19.

It shows that 87,781 primary school aged children and 134,439 teenagers were prescribed medication, mostly for anxiety and depression but also for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Conduct Disorder or psychosis.

Mr Elliott said parents’ worries were rubbing off on children, creating “toxic stress’’.

“Parents are quite understandably anxious about the world and it rubs off on children,’’ he said.

“Children are picking up on the reaction of their parents to the television news at night, and with COVID-19 people are worried about losing their jobs.’’

Stella Ladikos Photo: The Greek Herald

Speaking to The Greek Herald earlier this year, Mental Health First Aid Instructor Stella Ladikos said mental health encompasses much more than ‘mental illness’, and although some people may not possess a mental illness, they should be mindful of their overall mental health.

“Everybody has a mental health, yet only a small percentage of the population have a mental health problem, concern or illness,” Stella said.

“Our mental health exists on a spectrum. When you go down the mental health spectrum it’s really those signs where your regular coping strategies aren’t working, and it’s that ‘medium’ place where we encourage people to seek help before it gets worse.”

Australian Secondary Principals Association president Andrew Pierpoint said schools were noticing a rise in truancy and “a lack of application to the tasks at hand’’.

“Students worry about the future, worry about their parents, worry about grandma and granddad, and the Year 12s are worried about the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank),’’ he said.

The Productivity Commission has recommended that schools be rated on “student wellbeing’’ as well as attendance rates and academic success.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the Education Council of state and territory ministers would consider a report on the best way to measure student wellbeing.

He said a National Child Mental Health Strategy was being developed and the federal government was spending $133 million on youth mental health, plus $247 million for school chaplains over four years.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Hellenism takes over Brighton-Le-Sands as Greek Fest makes triumphant return

On Sunday, Bay Street in Brighton-Le-Sands was packed with people as the Greek Fest made its triumphant return after 21 long years.

Cypriot communities across Australia and NZ gather for 51st Annual Conference

On Friday, May 24, the Federation of Cyprus Communities and Organizations of Australia and NZ officially inaugurated its 51st Annual Conference following a four-year...

Three generations of Pontians raise funds to preserve their ‘second home’ in Sydney

Three generations of proud Pontians supported Pontoxeniteas NSW's 'Winter Wonderland Fundraising Gala' for its 45-year-old Pontian House.

6th Annual Breakfast for Brain Cancer in Sydney: A morning of hope and progress

The White Pearl Foundation hosted its 6th Annual Breakfast for Brain Cancer in Sydney in support of The Brain Cancer Group.

Melbourne’s Greek community gathers to commemorate the Battle of Crete

Melbourne's Greek community gathered at events over the weekend to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

You May Also Like

SYRIZA politician resigns over sexual abuse allegations

Alex Georgoulis, a member of the European Parliament for SYRIZA has resigned from Greece's opposition party over sexual abuse allegations.

Tsitsipas: “I have worked a lot, 2023 will be different”

A few days before the first big meeting of the new season in Melbourne, Stefanos Tsitsipas seemed optimistic about his course in 2023.

Nick Politis acquires more shares in Australia’s largest car dealership group

Sydney Roosters Chairman, Nick Politis, has acquired more shares in Australia's largest car dealership group Eagers Automotive.