Estimating demand for mental health care among Australian children and adolescents: Findings from the Young Minds Matter survey

Claudia Pagliaro, Madeleine Pearl, David Lawrence, James G. Scott, Sandra Diminic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Mental health service use by individuals without a diagnosed mental disorder is sometimes termed 'met un-need'. However, provision of services for this group may be necessary to provide appropriate assessment, referral and early intervention. This study quantified child and adolescent use of, and perceived need for, mental health services to inform population-level service planning. Methods: Young people in Australia's Young Minds Matter survey (n = 5837, 5-17 years), were categorised into four 'need' groups: (1) 12-month mental disorder diagnosis; (2) remitted for more than 12 months (or experiencing a condition not surveyed); (3) 12-month subthreshold mental health problem; and (4) no indication of need for help (i.e. did not meet the requirements of the first three categories). Service demand (use of, or perceived need for, a mental health service) and number of sessions received were estimated for each, separately for children (5-11 years) and adolescents (12-17 years). Results: Some 20.1% (95% CI: [18.6, 21.7]) of children and 32.3% (95% CI: [30.5, 34.2]) of adolescents expressed a demand for mental health services in the past year. Service demand decreased across the need groups. Perceived need without service use was higher among those with a 12-month subthreshold mental health problem (13.8/20.2%) than those who had experienced a mental health problem that had remitted for more than 12 months (or were experiencing a condition not surveyed) (9.3/12.6%). In addition, 23.6% of children and 24.6% of adolescents with a demand for mental health services were classified as experiencing no indication of need for help. Conclusions: This study quantified the number of children and adolescents in Australia who are likely to require mental health services. Findings suggest that not everyone in this group who has an expressed service demand meets diagnostic thresholds, but among those who do, service demand is higher.

Original languageEnglish
Article number00048674211069874
Pages (from-to)1443-1454
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume56
Issue number11
Early online date31 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating demand for mental health care among Australian children and adolescents: Findings from the Young Minds Matter survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this