Australia's innovation in youth mental health: Who are the clients and why are they presenting?

Debra RICKWOOD, Nic Telford, Alexandra Parker, Chris Tanti, Patrick McGorry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To provide the first national profile of the characteristics of young people (aged 12-25 years) accessing headspace centre services - the Australian Government's innovation in youth mental health service delivery - and investigate whether headspace is providing early service access for adolescents and young adults with emerging mental health problems. Design and participants: Census of all young people accessing a headspace centre across the national network of 55 centres comprising a total of 21 274 headspace clients between 1 January and 30 June 2013. Main outcome measures: Reason for presentation, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, stage of illness, diagnosis, functioning. Results: Young people were most likely to present with mood and anxiety symptoms and disorders, self-reporting their reason for attendance as problems with how they felt. Client demographic characteristics tended to reflect population-level distributions, although clients from regional areas and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background were particularly well represented, whereas those who were born outside Australia were underrepresented. Conclusion: headspace centres are providing a point of service access for young Australians with high levels of psychological distress and need for care in the early stages of the development of mental disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-111
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


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