Young South Australians should be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy

 Child Focused Health:

  • Supporting more physical activity
  • Understanding the impact of chronic Illness better
  • Embedding menstrual health in schools, clubs, and workplaces
  • Ensuring a continuum of peer supports and clinical mental health services
  • Improving sexual health and safety in schools and communities





The Commissioner’s big issues in relation to health

Physical health

At the moment, many children and young people in South Australia aren’t getting enough exercise. The Commissioner is calling for:

  • Safer roads and footpaths so that children and young people can walk or cycle to school
  • Safer outdoor spaces and places where kids can go and play or hang out
  • More time for sport and active play during the school day
  • Help to pay for team membership, uniform and transport to sport.

For more information see: Issue Brief: Health, Wellbeing and Physical Activity (2023)

Chronic illness

Lots of children and young people have illnesses that will not go away even if their symptoms can be made a little better from day to day with certain medicines. These long term conditions are called “chronic illnesses”. They include conditions that stop your body from working properly like heart problems, or having difficulty turning food into energy, or problems related to breathing  such as asthma, or managing skin conditions such as eczema, to name a few.

Children and young people living with different kinds of chronic illness sometimes have to take a lot of medicines, or they need to visit the hospital often. Sometimes the illnesses mean they find it hard to take part at school or keep up with their studies. Other conditions mean they can’t participate in some of the activities other children and young people can. That’s why teachers need to have an understanding of the different chronic illnesses children and young people are coping with, so they can support them better.

For more information see: Issues Brief 01: South Australian children and young people’s experiences of living with chronic illness (2022)


Drugs and vaping

Young people have told the Commissioner a lot about vaping and how they would like to see changes made.  They told her they would like more information and a better understanding about drugs, alcohol and vaping in general, and for this to be taught in practical, non-judgmental ways at school. They also want to know what options exist for young people who may need somewhere to go for extra help and for these supports to be easy to access.

For more information see: Vaping Survey: Key Findings Report (2022)


 Relationships and sexual health

Lots of young people have told the Commissioner that they would like to know more about relationships and sexual health, including what a respectful relationship looks like. They would also like answers to questions about sexual health that they feel too embarrassed to ask their parents or teachers about.

For more information see: Sex Education in South Australia (2021)

Menstrual health

A lot of children and young people told the Commissioner that they don’t understand menstruation and how it can affect them. They also don’t know where to go if they can’t afford period products or need help managing period pain. The Commissioner is working with young people to try to get better menstruation education into schools. She wants everyone to know about periods so they can speak about them freely and with confidence, including where young people can access free period products when they need them without feel embarrassed or ashamed.

For more information see: Menstruation Matters report (2021)

Mental health

Children and young people have told the Commissioner that at times they struggle with their mental health and need extra support. It is important that everyone understands more about their own mental health and is able to learn techniques and practices that can help stay mentally well. This includes being listened to by the adults around them, and knowing where they can go to get the best advice and support possible when it’s needed.

For more information see: Issue Brief: Developing a ‘fit for purpose’ mental health care system for 21st century children (2023)