Adolescent mental health in an Australian context and future interventions

Kelly A. Allen, Vicki L. McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents an overview of the literature on mental health in the adolescent population in Australia and includes the prevalence and epidemiology of mental health issues and an analysis of a range of school-based interventions. The presence of mental illness in young people has become a major health problem globally, and increasing interest has been toward showing how Australian youths in the general population are specifically affected. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the implications for mental illness in adolescents, and particularly in minority populations. Particularly troubling are reported suicide rates in this age group over the last decade. This article argues that the average age of onset for mental illness is falling, signifying that schools are fast becoming important environments for early identification and intervention programs. In recent years, a rapid increase in research has investigated the relationship between school connectedness and psychopathology. Empirical studies on school belonging and loneliness reveal considerable evidence that social connections play an essential role in the prevention of mental health issues and in the fostering of wellbeing. This article explores Australian studies on mental illness and its prevention and intervention in secondary schools. The article contributes to existing literature of mental illness in adolescents and has important practical implications for future intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-93
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Australian
  • Belonging
  • Mental health
  • School
  • Youth

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