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Issues in Rural Adolescent Mental Health in Australia

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The young members of the society, specifically the children and the adolescents, are believed to be the future of a nation. Indeed, their ability to function individually and as a part of the community will largely determine the status of the society. This principle has invisibly become the basis of the current policies and government actions that promote optimal health and well being of the young. In Australia, where currently live the healthiest generation of children in the history, authorities, including individuals and organizations from both public and private sectors, continue to search for and formulate the most efficient policies and services that can further improve the indices mental health as mental illness has become “ one of the leading causes of non-fatal burden of disease and injury” affecting good health (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 2006, p.

97). Despite such efforts, national, state and local leaders of change as well as “ the health care professions, especially those engaged in primary care” must know that every policy and action such as the National Mental Health Strategy and the Fourth National Mental Health Plan will be deemed useless unless they “ think about and act on broader, often nonbiomedical, determinants of population health while also attending to needs of patients for individual care” .

Studies have supported that there is indeed a significant difference in the cognitive development and mental health behaviors of individuals from different social and economic classes. Young individuals of the impoverished and lower socioeconomic groups tend to suffer more from the stresses that result from the lack of financial resources than the adolescents with families and of communities with a decent and comfortable living situation.

Taylor, Page, Morrell, Carter, and Harrison (2004) noted that the inability to go to school, unemployment of their parents or their selves, and the physical, emotional, and psychological abuses that are common in the populations that root from this poverty make these adolescents more vulnerable to “ psychological disturbance” (p. 491).

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