About Mental Health


As a family doctor over a 33 year span it is increasingly apparent that Mental Health Issues are vitally important in the Health System, especially in the area of Youth Health. One in four youths will experience Mental Issues in the next 12 months.

  • Depression / Anxiety
  • Personality Disorders
  • Psychosis (either first episodes or ongoing)
  • Suicide or Attempted Suicide

There is often a cross pollination of these problems.

For young people the onset can be sudden, there may be no apparent cause or specific reason, often they do not realise they have a problem or feel isolated, that no one is listening to them. Life may seem to have no purpose, leading to substance abuse. Their depression may be related to child abuse which they are not willing or able to acknowledge.
Others may feel the world is grey, there is nowhere to go, and life is an endless tunnel with no light at the end. There may be feeling of hopelessness.

What a way to start your life journey?

We as a community must marshal our resources to address these issues. It is important to let youth know they can ask for help, that they can talk to their loved ones or their friends, that some days are grey, that help is at hand.

It is a major imperative for our Health System, through Education, Research and Resources to provide this help.

The facts show that the development of Mental Health Issues are most likely to occur in the ages 12 to 26 than any other time in life.

Adolescence and early childhood are crucial periods of Physical, Social, Educational and Vocational Development and if Mental Health Issues are not addresses during this time it can have long standing effects on the quality of enjoyment and fulfilment in life.

What can we as Australian’s do about this?

  1. Be aware, understanding and compassionate in our dealings with youth.
  2. Lobby Politicians and Health Authorities to establish youth Mental Health Issues as a priority
  3. Donate or time, services and funds
  4. Business communities have a positive attitude to youth employment and refuse to take part in any exploitation.
  5. Health Professionals ensure that their training is adequate to access and provide appropriate pathways for both Management and education.

Research indicates that Depression, Anxiety and Substance Abuse are associated with problems in regulating moods and emotions. There is evidence that early intervention with Psychological treatments can be instrumental in a positive outcome for the patient.

Depression awareness studies have demonstrated that students with awareness of depression symptoms were more likely to seek help, better able to identify strategies for managing depression, and more supportive of people with similar issues.

There is a weight of research evidence available which supports the value of education awareness and treatment regimes and the value of websites that delineate this is undisputed as the communication tool most suitable for the young.

Dr Roly Bott
General Practitioner

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