Release type: Media Release

Date:

International Youth Day 2009

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth

In an address to the National Press Club today, the Minister for Youth Kate Ellis released a snapshot of the upcoming inaugural State of Australians Young People Report.

The Report will highlight the issues that impact on young people and also provide key statistics about the current generation of Young Australians.

While the Report identifies that young Australians have a positive attitude towards the future overall, the Snapshot sets off alarm bells in relation to some emerging health and safety issues.

The Snapshot shows us that:

  • One in four young Australians aged 16-24 years old have a mental health disorder with young people, especially girls highlighting self harm and unhealthy body image
  • More than a quarter of year 8 Australian students report that they know someone who had been cyber – bullied
  • Young people are more likely than others to be affected by particular crimes, such as violence.
  • Teenagers aged 15-19 years had the highest hospitalisation rates for acute intoxication from alcohol among all age groups.

Ms Ellis expressed concern about the growing prevalence of self harm, particularly amongst Australian girls.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has also found that hospitalisation rates for intentional self harm among young people increased by 43% between 1996 and 2006.

“This is our Young Australia – so lost, so isolated and frustrated that they take to slashing their own flesh or other serious forms of harm and mutilation. If these stats aren’t a call to arms – then I don’t know what is,” said Minister Ellis.

“Of course it’s not all doom and gloom – we have a remarkable generation of young people who are truly inspired. But what these issues point to is the need for us to ensure the self esteem, self confidence and empowerment of our young people.”

The Australian Government is determined to respond to the new, emerging issues faced by our young people and to ensure that they have the self confidence to live happy and healthy lives.

The Government is determined to support young people so that they can meet the challenges they face both today and into the future.