The mental health and wellbeing of young people is at the forefront of mental health policy in Australia, with signifi cant recent investment in initiatives for those aged 12–25 years. This is a welcome outcome from over 15 years of sustained advocacy. Mental health was recognised as a health priority area in 1996 and, since then, increasing awareness of the burden of mental disorder in adolescence and young adulthood has sharpened the focus on this stage of the lifespan. The most recent Australian data from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing revealed that one in four young people will experience an affective, anxiety or substance use disorder in a 12-month period. This parallels data from the large US comorbidity study, which showed that three-quarters of mental disorders emerge before the age of 25 years and half before the age of 14.