Why are so many more adolescents presenting to our emergency departments with mental health problems?

Susan M Sawyer and George C Patton
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00213
Published online: 7 May 2018

New data on the rise in presentations should be seen as canaries in the coal mine

Australia has in recent decades made major investments in mental health care; government expenditure has risen rapidly,1 the availability of psychological therapies has expanded,2 antidepressant use has increased,3 and the size of the mental health workforce has grown.4 There has also been a major focus on adolescents with the national rollout of Headspace centres and early psychosis programs.5 Data in two articles in this issue of the Journal, describing trends in mental health crisis presentations by adolescents to emergency departments in Australia’s two most populous states, provide an important test of the success of these investments.

  • 1 Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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