Lift the Lid on mental illness

As part of their Lift the Lid on Mental Illness campaign initiatives, Australian Rotary Health (ARH) recently brought experts together to encourage parents and children to have difficult conversations for better futures. While there’s no quick solution to teen mental health issues and suicide, there are ways to be better prepared when difficult situations and emotions arise.

After we ask, “Are U OK?”, what do we say next? And how can our teenagers and children help each other?

This was the pressing issue deliberated at a recent round-table discussion on behalf of Australian Rotary Health. The discussion was attended by, among others, child expert and author Maggie Dent; Dr Ron Rapee, Professor of Psychology and founder of Cool Kids; Dr Claire Kelly, whose work focuses on minimising the impact mental health problems can have on development and educational outcomes; and Dr Kylie King, Senior Research Fellow at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University.

Moderated and led by journalist and unofficial teen godmother Rebecca Sparrow, the round-table discussion covered the pressing subjects of teen depression, mental health, and suicide, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to 2019 statistics, one in seven teenagers experienced mental health disorders in the previous 12 months (around 591,000 teens). These mental health disorders encapsulate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and conduct disorder. Almost one-third of 14- to 17-year-olds with a disorder experience two or more mental disorders at the same time.

Together, the collection of experts pooled their ideas and experiences to provide advice for parents of teens.

Research is critical to getting these programs off the ground. Please donate to mental health research through Australian Rotary Health today: