Mental illness and substance abuse - Young people

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Mental illness and substance abuse in the AIFS library catalogue

Changing direction: mental health needs of justice-involved young people in Australia

Kirby Institute
Sydney, NSW : The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, 2020
This report looks into the mental health of young people involved in the justice system in Australia. It presents findings from a survey of 465 justice-involved young people from Queensland and Western Australia, aged 14-17 years of age, regarding their general health, history of justice system involvement, experiences of non-sexual abuse, mental health, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorders, alcohol abuse, substance use, self-harm and suicidal behaviours, and use of mental health services. Comparisons are made by gender and by Indigenous status, as well as with findings from the Young Minds Survey of mental health in the general youth population. The findings highlight the significant co-occurrences of mental ill-health, abuse, head injury, and justice involvement, and the disproportionately high rates of attempted suicide and self-harm.

Socioeconomic disadvantage, mental health and substance use in young men in emerging adulthood.

Currier D, Patton G, Sanci L, Sahabandu S, Spittal M, English D, Milner A and Pirkis J
Behavioral Medicine 26 Jun 2019: Advance online publication
This article investigates the role of socioeconomic factors in young men's health, in particular whether there is an association between socioeconomic disadvantage and mental health, suicidal behaviour and substance use. Data is taken for 2,281 young men aged 18-25, from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health, with high school completion and area disadvantage used as measures of disadvantage. The study finds that high school completion is associated with poorer outcomes, and that health promotion interventions should target young men who do not complete - or who are at risk of not completing - secondary education.

Sex differences in psychological distress, behavioural and emotional problems, and substance use in young people in out-of-home care.

Cotton S, Rice S, Moeller-Saxone K, Magnus A, Harvey C, Mihalopoulos C, Humphreys C, Murray L, Halperin S, McGorry P and Herrman H
Child and Family Social Work 8 Aug 2019: Advance online publication
This article investigates whether there are gender differences in the mental health of young people in out of home care. It presents findings from a survey of 176 young people, aged 12-17 years old, in care in Melbourne, Victoria, regarding psychological distress, behavioural and emotional problems, and substance use. The study found that girls reported significantly higher levels of distress and were more likely to report emotional symptoms and peer relationship problems than boys did. Girls also reported higher rates of placement instability over the past year, which might contribute to these problems.

Are young carers less engaged in school than non-carers? Evidence from a representative Australian study.

Hamilton M and Redmond G
Child Indicators Research 24 May 2019: Advance online publication
This article adds to what is known about the poorer school outcomes of young people with caring responsibilities. It investigates whether there are differences in school engagement depending on the underlying issue of the person being cared for, using data from the Australian Child Wellbeing Project for 5,220 children aged 8-14 years old. The study finds little difference in the school engagement of non-carers and young carers of people with disability, but the school engagement of young carers of people with a mental illness or using alcohol/drugs is significantly lower. Young carers who themselves have a disability have even lower levels of engagement.

Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
Every year in Australia, millions of years of healthy life are effectively lost because of injury, illness or premature deaths: the 'burden of disease'. This report provides estimates of the total, non-fatal and fatal burden for the Australian population in 2015, using the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) measure. DALY estimates are presented for more than 200 diseases and conditions - including mental health and injuries - as well as estimates of the burden attributable to more than 30 risk factors, such as tobacco use and physical inactivity. Comparisons are included for males and females, across age groups, and against the 2003 and 2011 report findings. The methodology is also discussed. A particular finding is that 38% of the estimated burden could have been prevented by addressing lifestyle risk factors.

'Are they shouting because of me?': voices of children living in households with domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental health issues

Great Britain. Office of the Children's Commissioner
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report looks at life growing up under the 'toxic trio' of mental health, parental substance misuse, and domestic abuse. It presents findings from interviews with 15 children and young people in England about their experiences of living in households with these three issues, including how it affected their emotional wellbeing, school life and relationships with friends, and the ways in which they attempted to cope. Though the participants revealed the problems of living with high levels of tension and unpredictability at home, and about an evolving sense of shame and growing up quickly, they were also very clear about how much they loved and trusted their parents and the great lengths they went not to tell others for fear of being separated.

Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, over the-counter drugs, and illicit substances: ASSAD 2017 - statistics & trends

Guerin N and White V
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Health and Ageing, 2018.
This report presents findings from the 2017 Australian Secondary Students' Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey. Around 20,000 students aged 12 to 17 years old participated in the survey, providing information on their use of tobacco, alcohol, electronic cigarettes, over-the-counter drugs, and illicit drugs, as well as how they obtained these substances, where they took them, their recall of substance use education at school, and their use of health services for substance use, emotional problems, or behavioural problems. The findings are presented by age group and sex, with comparisons with findings from the 2011 and 2014 surveys. The 2017 survey found that rates of smoking and alcohol drinking have fallen since 2011, though rates of illicit drug use have remained similar.

The impact of substantiated childhood maltreatment on young adult health: a cohort study

Abajobir A
This thesis adds to what is known about the impact of child maltreatment on poor health outcomes later in adulthood. Using data from the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), for young adults aged 21 years old, it investigates whether childhood maltreatment is associated subsequent intimate partner violence victimisation, delinquent behaviours, risky sexual behaviours, early pregnancy, substance use, mental health disorders, and poor physical development and physical health, including height stunting, high fat intake, asthma, and sleep disorders. It also assesses the impact of childhood maltreatment on the quality of life of young adults. The analysis found that child maltreatment - in particular physical and emotional abuse and neglect - were associated with a broad range of negative health outcomes. However, the vast majority of children who had experienced childhood maltreatment did not appear to exhibit adverse outcomes.

2018 transitions cohort needs assessment: results from Stage Two - 'high' and 'very high' needs survey

O'Neill D and Jagger R
Wellington N.Z. : Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, 2018.
A study is underway on young people in state care in New Zealand who are at particular risk of not making a successful transition to independence. The study will help inform the design of the government's new Transition Support Service. Stage One assessed the level of need of each young person aged 15-17 years old in care and identified that 378 young people - or 40% - had a 'high' or 'very high' level of need. This report presents the findings of Stage Two of the study, which sought to learn more about the circumstances, needs and service delivery gaps experienced by these young people. Interviews were conducted with 120 social workers working with 96 young people in care and protection and 24 in youth justice sites in urban and rural areas, regarding the presence of a trusted adult in the young person's life, parenthood, school or work participation, behaviour putting themselves or others at risk of harm, impacts of risk taking, mental health concerns, disabilities, substance use problems, need and use of services, multiple needs, living arrangement intentions, desire to remain in or return to a caregiving relationship, living arrangements required, barriers to finding suitable accommodation, and other challenges to successful transition.

Consequences of bullying victimization in childhood and adolescence : a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Moore S, Norman R, Suetani S, Thomas H, Sly P and Scott J
World Journal of Psychiatry v. 7 no. 1 2017: 60-76
This article reviews the literature on the association between being bullied in childhood or adolescence and a range of adverse health and psychosocial problems at any age, including depression, anxiety, poor mental health, poor general health, self-injury, suicide, smoking, and illicit drug use. In particular, it assesses the strength of evidence for a causal relationship in this association. The findings show there is strong evidence that bullying victimisation causes mental health problems.

A heavy burden on young minds : the global burden of mental and substance use disorders in children and youth.

Erskine H, Moffitt T, Copeland  , Costello E, Ferrari A, Patton G, Degenhardt L, Vos T, Whiteford H and Scott J
Psychological Medicine v. 45 no. 7 May 2017: 1551-1563
This article aims to determine the burden of mental and substance disorders in children and youth aged 0?24 years old around the world. It investigates what is known about both the scale and patterns of this burden, drawing on data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 to assess Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), Years lived with disability (YLDs), and Years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs). Though the data is limited, it identified that mental and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability in children and youth globally, and the sixth leading contributor to disease burden in this age group.

Engaging young people: using the pathways young people take in and out of homelessness as the foundation for a person centred service culture

Johnson G, Cook K and Sesa S
Melbourne : Melbourne City Mission, 2016.
This report was commissioned to examine young people's access to and use of homelessness services, to help inform the work Melbourne City Mission. It investigates young people's pathways into the homelessness service system, their service histories and experiences, which services and programs most effectively facilitated positive outcomes, and the capacity of services to take family context and connections into account when addressing homelessness. The reports draws on 45 in-depth interviews with people aged 16-24 years old, with follow-up interviews with 26 of the original participants six months later. Of the 45 initial participants, most were single, one quarter had been in out-of-home care, nearly two thirds had received treatment for mental health issues, and over a third reported problematic substance use. The report identifies patterns of service use, patterns of outcomes, and the implications for policy and practice.

Aetiology of coexisting mental health and alcohol and other drug disorders : perspectives of refugee youth and service providers.

Posselt M, Procter N, Galletly C and De Crespigny C
Australian Psychologist v. 50 no. 2 Apr 2015: 130-140
Though the research is limited, young refugees are considered to be a particularly vulnerable group for mental health and substance abuse comorbidity. This article investigates the social and psychosocial factors related to being a young person from a refugee background that lead to the development of such comorbidity. Interviews were conducted with 15 refugee youth - aged 12 to 25 years old - and 15 service providers in a disadvantaged region of Adelaide, South Australia, regarding pre-migration experiences of torture and trauma; familial factors of intergenerational conflict; post-migration adjustment difficulties in terms of language, culture, education, and employment; exposure to and availability of substances; maladaptive coping strategies and self-medication; and access to information and services. The findings highlight the interrelated nature of risk factors.

What can be done?: residential therapeutic treatment options for young people suffering substance abuse/mental illness

Bowles J
Acton, ACT : Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia, 2015.
This paper investigates whether compulsory or mandated treatment makes a difference for young people with drug, alcohol, and mental health issues, and thus whether a secure (closed) therapeutic residential facility for young people should be established in Victoria. Supported by the Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, the author visited secure homes and therapeutic community residences in Sweden, Scotland, England and New Zealand. The paper discusses the Victorian context, innovative approaches and initiatives from overseas, and the legislative changes required to support any such mandated treatment in Victoria.

Investigation into ways that State government departments and authorities can prevent or reduce suicide by young people

Western Australia. Ombudsman
Perth, WA : Ombudsman Western Australia, 2014.
As part of the Western Australian Ombudsman's work into child deaths, they identified a need to undertake an investigation into the issue of suicide. Suicide was the most common circumstance of death for young people aged 13 to 17 years old, accounting for nearly forty% of deaths among reviewed cases. This review examines how State Government departments and authorities can prevent or reduce these deaths. A review of the cases identified four distinct at risk groups, relating to contact with State government departments and authorities, mental health problems, parental mental illness, experience of child maltreatment, and risk taking. The review then considered the opportunities for intervention by the Departments of Health, Education, and Child Protection and Family Support. However, a coordinated approach and information sharing is also essential.

Review of key risk and protective factors for child development and wellbeing (antenatal to age 25)

Toumbourou J, Hall J, Varco J and Leung R
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People, 2014.
This report summarises the key risk and protective factors for child and youth development and wellbeing, to help identify the optimal intervention points across the life course from conception to 25 years old. It outlines risk and protective factors that influence child development across areas relevant to both wellbeing and positive adjustment and also the prevention of health and social problems across a wide range of areas, as well as the factors associated with the escalation of risk. Seven major preventable outcomes are focused on: substance abuse, obesity, preventable disability, mental illness, chronic illness, school failure, antisocial behaviour, and social exclusion.

Longitudinal trends in the dispensing of psychotropic medications in Australia from 2009-2012 : focus on children, adolescents and prescriber specialty.

Karanges E, Stephenson C and McGregor I
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 48 no. 10 Oct 2014: 917-931
This article reviews recent trends in the dispensing of antidepressant, antipsychotic and ADHD medications to children, adolescents and young adults in Australia. The results show a worrying increase in prescribing, despite uncertain risk-benefit profiles.

Young women in youth alcohol and other drug services: YSAS snapshot.

Youth Support and Advocacy Service (Fitzroy, Vic.)
Fitzroy, Vic. : YSAS, 2013.
This paper highlights findings from two current studies highlighting the issue of gender for young people attending alcohol and drug services. The studies found significant differences in the needs and characteristics of young men and women, including criminal justice system involvement, history of abuse and child protection involvement, mental health issues and self-harm, and housing issues - with implications for how services are tailored and delivered. The first study, by Kathryn Daley, involves life-history interviews with 61 young people accessing youth drug treatment services in Victoria. The second study is the recently completed Statewide Youth Needs Census conducted with frontline youth AOD workers regarding their current clients.

Childhood maltreatment and post-traumatic stress disorder among incarcerated young offenders.

Moore E, Gaskin C and Indig D
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 37 no. 10 Oct 2013: 861-870
This article explores the association between childhood abuse and trauma and later offending in adolescence. Using data from the 2009 NSW Young People in Custody Health Survey, it reports on the prevalence of child maltreatment and post-traumatic stress disorder among young offenders, the incidence of different types of abuse and multiple abuse, mental health, substance use, and rates of offending. The participants were 88% male, 48% Aboriginal, and with an average age of 17 years. Over half (60%) of young offenders reported some kind of child maltreatment, with females nearly 10 times more likely to report three or more kinds of severe child maltreatment than males.

Exploring the complex links between violence, mental health, and substance abuse - from correlates, through risk factors, towards causal pathways : commentary.

Mikton C, Tonmyr L and Scott D
Advances in Mental Health v. 11 no. 1 2012: 87-94
The special issue of this journal looks at substance use and mental health. This commentary highlights a recurring theme among the articles - the association between child maltreatment and later mental health and substance abuse problems. The authors hoped that the articles will contribute to strengthening the evidence-base in preventing and responding to these problems.

Engaging with and understanding children whose parents have a dual diagnosis.

Reupert A, Goodyear M and Maybery D
Child and Adolescent Mental Health v. 17 no. 3 Sep 2012: 153-160
This article presents findings from a research project on the experiences and needs of children whose parents have a dual diagnosis of a mental health and a substance use disorder. Interviews were conducted with 12 children and young people, aged 8 to 15, recruited through Northern Kids Care On Track Community Programs, in northern New South Wales. The article discusses issues of consent and ethics in conducting research with children, and also discusses the findings of the study, which present the perspectives of children on family relations, coping, and support.

'There's nothing the *@#! wrong with me' : youth mental health and substance use in rural and remote Australia and the potential role of school-based interventions.

Crockett J
Youth Studies Australia v. 31 no. 1 Mar 2012: 53-59
At least 20% of young people aged between 14 and 25 years who live in inland Australia experience a mental health or substance use problem at any given point in time. Many of these young people experience significant geographic, economic and sociocultural barriers to obtaining youth-friendly health advice and care, particularly in relation to key issues of mental health and drug and alcohol use. Only a small percentage ever receives care from health professionals. The use of schools to provide mental health and substance use education and care is explored as a possible means of overcoming these barriers and better addressing the needs of youth in rural and remote locations.

A new team for rural mental health promotion : linking sports clubs and local services.

Young M, Dixon J and Hogan A
Gregory, Gordon, ed. Proceedings of the 11th National Rural Health Conference : Perth WA, 13-16 March 2011 : rural and remote Australia - the heart of a healthy nation. Canberra : National Rural Health Alliance, 2011: 7p
This paper describes the development of the 'Good Sports, Good Mental Health - Build Your Game' program, developed by the Australian Drug Foundation in conjunction with beyondblue: the national depression initiative. The program aims to reduce alcohol-related problems through health education, promotion, and responsible serving of alcohol provided through amateur sporting clubs. The paper discusses the comorbidity of alcohol abuse and mental health problems, targeting young men through sport, and working with rural sports clubs in Victoria and New South Wales.

Perceptions and experiences of cannabis use by young adults living with a mental illness : a qualitative study.

Stavropoulos P, McGee S and Smith M
Australian Social Policy Journal 9781921647932 no. 10 2011: 51-69
While studies of cannabis use are numerous, the voices of consumers of cannabis are rarely heard. Even less prevalent are the voices of young people living with a mental illness, whose perceptions, attitudes and experiences are crucial to construction of effective health strategies and campaigns. This paper seeks to enhance understanding of the perceived and experienced links between cannabis use and mental health by young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years who are living with a mental illness. With reference to insights gained from focus groups comprising members of this cohort, motivations for use and non-use of cannabis are discussed. Reappraisal of cannabis from a relatively safe and 'soft' drug to one that is implicated in psychosis and mental illness renders the experience of this cohort particularly relevant to public policy and debate. To the extent that cannabis can precipitate a predisposition to mental illness - thus catalysing a risk factor that may not be known in advance - it is vital that we know more about the perceptions of young people who are already confronting mental illness and their attitudes to cannabis use. Such knowledge can potentially lead both to more effective health promotion campaigns in relation to this cohort, and more effective engagement of young people in general (where, in the context of cannabis use and mental health, youth itself is a risk factor).

Help-seeking for substance use, anxiety and affective disorders among young people : results from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Reavley N, Cvetkovski S, Jorm A and Lubman D
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 44 no. 8 Aug 2010: 729-735
The purpose of this article is to provide a more detailed analysis of the relationship between type and severity of mental disorders (substance use, anxiety and affective disorders) and help-seeking in those aged 16-24 years compared to those aged 25-44 and 45-85 years. Data from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB) which was conducted in 2007 was used. It was found that more than one in four Australians aged 16-24 years experienced a mental disorder in the preceding 12 months. This compared to one in five in those aged 16-85 years. Fewer than one in four 16-24-year-olds with a 12-month mental disorder accessed health services in a 12-month period compared with just over one in three of those aged 16-85. The gap in help-seeking was primarily related to higher rates of substance use disorders and low help-seeking associated with these, particularly in young men. The gap in help-seeking in young people with mental health problems is largely due to high rates of substance use disorders and the low rates of help-seeking associated with these. In order to address this gap there is a need for better coordination and integration of mental health and alcohol and drug services within primary care settings. Population health approaches that tackle erroneous beliefs about alcohol and related harms and improve overall mental health literacy are also needed.

Adolescent mental health and substance misuse: the major health challenge for young Australians.

Hickie I and Walter G
Bennett, David L, ed. Towns, Susan J, ed. Elliott, Elizabeth J, ed. Merrick, Joav, ed. Challenges in adolescent health : an Australian perspective. New York : Nova Science Publishers, 2009. Health and human development series. 9781607416166: 39-48
Mental disorders and related substance abuse are a major health issue for young people, and number among the main causes of death and disability in this population. These disorders have a peak onset age in later adolescence and early adulthood, corresponding to neurobiological and social changes in young people. This chapter outlines opportunities for early intervention in this developmental period, with examples from the headspace National Youth and Health Foundation and the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Mind your head : some things you might want to know about drugs and metal health.

Bowen J and Quiroga J
Moreland, Vic. : UnitingCare Moreland Hall, 2008
This booklet is a resource for young people aged 15-25 years, and for those, including teachers, parents and allied health workers, wanting to know more about the relationship between mental health and substance use. It provides information on different drugs and their effects on mental health, dual diagnosis, strategies for looking after your mental health, and getting help and support.

Australia's homeless youth: a report of the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness.

National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness, National Youth Commission (Brunswick, Vic.), Caledonia Foundation
Brunswick, Vic. : National Youth Commission, 2008.
The National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness was an independent community inquiry conducted in 2007 by the National Youth Commission and funded by The Caledonia Foundation. It examined the problem of youth homelessness in Australia, and developed recommendations for service provision and a 10-point roadmap national action plan.

On the outside : pathways in and out of homelessness

Johnson G, Gronda H and Coutts S
North Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008.

Barriers to access to SAAP services in Australia : focusing on Tasmania.

Woodland J and Forbes J
Parity v. 21 no. 4 May 2008: 8-9
From 2002, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) service system in Tasmania has undergone restructuring. The 2005 SAAP IV Tasmanian evaluation report, 'Evolving ways', highlighted achievements from the restructured service system and informed the strategies of the SAAP V Bilateral Agreement 2005-2010. Recent revisions to the Tasmanian 'SAAP service standards 2006' are designed to improve equity and access to services. In order to achieve improvements in these areas, in 2007 the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services commissioned research into the extent, context and implications of barriers to SAAP services. This article discusses the key barriers, which chiefly relate to challenging behaviours, and how the Tasmanian service model supports young people, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness, substance abuse and comorbidity problems.
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