Health experts have gathered in Brisbane for a conference to mark World Mental Health Day.

The week long summit is looking for ways to reduce the stigma surrounding the illness.

Zac Street reports.


The focus at today’s mental health summit was on the growing problem within the 16 to 24 year age group.

Research shows young people are among the most vulnerable when it comes to mental illness, in particular university students.

Bruce Tills, Manager QUT Counselling Services: “Unfortunately a lot of young people are sometimes isolated from their families maybe they’ve come to Brisbane and their family’s in North Queensland. They need to turn to other people. We know that one of the biggest protective factors is being connected.”

Experts agree while the stigma associated with mental illness is subsiding, more education is needed.

Professor Tony Jorm, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre: “It’s not just a matter of increasing services, we’ve got to have greater acceptance of those services, greater acceptance of people in general, willingness to support people in their employment and support them in their education if they have mental illnesses.”

The summit is aiming for a national approach to “clear the fog” that surrounds mental health problems.

Around 160,000 young people, age 16 to 24 suffer from mental illness each year. Alarmingly 75 per cent of those people won’t seek help.

Organisations like Lifeline encourage people who fear they may have a mental illness to get help.

Chris Chicoteau, Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention: “There is help available and if they contact 13 11 14, they will be able to receive some support and appropriate care.”

The summit continues tomorrow.

Zac Street, QUT News.