AMSA lobby for more access to mental health services

THE high number of mental health disorders among young people flying under the radar in regional Queensland and across Australia has pushed a medical group to launch a mental health campaign.

The Australian Medical Students' Association kicked off the nation-wide initiative yesterday to raise awareness of mental health issues and lobby for more access to services.

"The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that young Australians are at a greater risk of developing a mental health disorder, with more than a quarter of those aged between 16 and 24 years experiencing a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months," AMSA president Jessica Dean said.

A spokesperson at mental health support organisation headspace said with the pressures of study and work coupled with the physical, psychological and social changes of growing up, it was not surprising young people were more susceptible to mental health disorders than adults.

"About 75% of mental health problems emerge before the age of 25," the spokesperson said.

AMSA will also work with universities to improve access to mental health services.

Headspace chief Chris Tanti said the campaign signalled Australia's future doctors were well aware of the impact mental health problems had on the future well-being and health of all Australians.

Mr Tanti said for decades mental health had been the poor cousin of other medical specialities, not keeping pace with the same level of funding.

There are a number of headspace centres in regional Queensland, including Maroochydore, Mackay and Rockhampton, with a centre planned for Toowoomba.

Those under 25 who are not near a centre can receive mental health support on headspace's website or phone Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800.

The Australian Medical Association, headspace, beyondblue, and Orygen Youth Health support the campaign.

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