Annual Report to Children and Young People 2020-2021

Despite increased awareness-raising around mental health, and improving access to quality mental health information, children and young people continue to face significant challenges in maintaining their wellbeing and mental health.

When children and young people are asked to talk about mental health, their focus is on their everyday experiences. These can include pressures in their family lives, at school, or within their community. They often describe coping with poor physical health, experiencing bullying, facing discrimination and exclusion, handling complex family structures, and navigating relationships with peers, partners, family members and teachers.

Children and young people say they do not always feel heard or believed by adults. This further undermines their trust in other people, the systems they live in and the services they’re offered, often designed and delivered with little or no input from them.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to access that which is required for them to live, including appropriate and sensitive health care system. A 21st century mental health care system needs to sit within a rights-based framework to have relevance and usefulness to the lives of 21st century children and young people.

This issues brief provides a snapshot summary of South Australian young people’s experiences with mental health care systems.