Knowledge and Resource Hub
08 November 2019

Mental disorders in Australian 4- to 17- year olds: Parent-reported need for help

This research described the extent to which parents reported that 4- to 17-year-olds with symptoms of mental health disorders need help, the types of help required, the extent this need is being met and the factors associated with needing  help. The research found that many children and adolescents meeting diagnostic criteria for mental disorders are not having their needs for help met. Parents of 79% of 4- to 17-year-olds with mental disorders reported that their child needed help, and of these, only 35% had their needs fully met. The greatest need for help was for those with major depressive disorder (95%) and conduct disorder (93%). Among these, 39% of those with major depressive disorder but only 19% of those with conduct disorder had their needs fully met. Counselling was the type of help most commonly identified as being required (68%). The need for counselling was more likely when children had autism or an intellectual disability, in blended families, when parents were distressed, and in the most advantaged socioeconomic areas.