Mental illness and substance abuse - Young people

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Childhood maltreatment and post-traumatic stress disorder among incarcerated young offenders.
MooreE, Gaskin C and Indig D
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 37 no. 10 Oct 2013: 861-870

This article explores the association between childhood abuse and trauma and later offending in adolescence. Using data from the 2009 NSW Young People in Custody Health Survey, it reports on the prevalence of child maltreatment and post-traumatic stress disorder among young offenders, the incidence of different types of abuse and multiple abuse, mental health, substance use, and rates of offending. The participants were 88% male, 48% Aboriginal, and with an average age of 17 years. Over half (60%) of young offenders reported some kind of child maltreatment, with females nearly 10 times more likely to report three or more kinds of severe child maltreatment than males.

Exploring the complex links between violence, mental health, and substance abuse - from correlates, through risk factors, towards causal pathways.
Mikton C, Tonmyr L and Scott D
Advances in Mental Health v. 11 no. 1 2012: 87-94

The special issue of this journal looks at substance use and mental health. This commentary highlights a recurring theme among the articles - the association between child maltreatment and later mental health and substance abuse problems. The authors hoped that the articles will contribute to strengthening the evidence-base in preventing and responding to these problems.

Engaging with and understanding children whose parents have a dual diagnosis.
Reupert A, Goodyear M and Maybery D
Child and Adolescent Mental Health v. 17 no. 3 Sep 2012: 153-160

This article presents findings from a research project on the experiences and needs of children whose parents have a dual diagnosis of a mental health and a substance use disorder. Interviews were conducted with 12 children and young people, aged 8 to 15, recruited through Northern Kids Care On Track Community Programs, in northern New South Wales. The article discusses issues of consent and ethics in conducting research with children, and also discusses the findings of the study, which present the perspectives of children on family relations, coping, and support.

'There's nothing the *@#! wrong with me' : youth mental health and substance use in rural and remote Australia and the potential role of school-based interventions.
Crockett J
Youth Studies Australia v. 31 no. 1 Mar 2012: 53-59

At least 20% of young people aged between 14 and 25 years who live in inland Australia experience a mental health or substance use problem at any given point in time. Many of these young people experience significant geographic, economic and sociocultural barriers to obtaining youth-friendly health advice and care, particularly in relation to key issues of mental health and drug and alcohol use. Only a small percentage ever receives care from health professionals. The use of schools to provide mental health and substance use education and care is explored as a possible means of overcoming these barriers and better addressing the needs of youth in rural and remote locations.

A new team for rural mental health promotion : linking sports clubs and local services. (PDF185KB)
Young M, Dixon J and Hogan A
Gregory, Gordon, ed. Proceedings of the 11th National Rural Health Conference : Perth WA, 13-16 March 2011 : rural and remote Australia - the heart of a healthy nation. Canberra : National Rural Health Alliance, 2011: 7p

This paper describes the development of the 'Good Sports, Good Mental Health - Build Your Game' program, developed by the Australian Drug Foundation in conjunction with beyondblue: the national depression initiative. The program aims to reduce alcohol-related problems through health education, promotion, and responsible serving of alcohol provided through amateur sporting clubs. The paper discusses the comorbidity of alcohol abuse and mental health problems, targeting young men through sport, and working with rural sports clubs in Victoria and New South Wales.

Perceptions and experiences of cannabis use by young adults living with a mental illness : a qualitative study.
Stavropoulos P, McGee S and Smith M
Australian Social Policy Journal no. 10 2011 9781921647932: 51-69

While studies of cannabis use are numerous, the voices of consumers of cannabis are rarely heard. Even less prevalent are the voices of young people living with a mental illness, whose perceptions, attitudes and experiences are crucial to construction of effective health strategies and campaigns. This paper seeks to enhance understanding of the perceived and experienced links between cannabis use and mental health by young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years who are living with a mental illness. With reference to insights gained from focus groups comprising members of this cohort, motivations for use and non-use of cannabis are discussed. Reappraisal of cannabis from a relatively safe and 'soft' drug to one that is implicated in psychosis and mental illness renders the experience of this cohort particularly relevant to public policy and debate. To the extent that cannabis can precipitate a predisposition to mental illness?thus catalysing a risk factor that may not be known in advance - it is vital that we know more about the perceptions of young people who are already confronting mental illness and their attitudes to cannabis use. Such knowledge can potentially lead both to more effective health promotion campaigns in relation to this cohort, and more effective engagement of young people in general (where, in the context of cannabis use and mental health, youth itself is a risk factor).

Help-seeking for substance use, anxiety and affective disorders among young people : results from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Reavley N, Cvetkovski S, Jorm A and Lubman D
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 44 no. 8 Aug 2010: 729-735

The purpose of this article is to provide a more detailed analysis of the relationship between type and severity of mental disorders (substance use, anxiety and affective disorders) and help-seeking in those aged 16-24 years compared to those aged 25-44 and 45-85 years. Data from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB) which was conducted in 2007 was used. It was found that more than one in four Australians aged 16-24 years experienced a mental disorder in the preceding 12 months. This compared to one in five in those aged 16-85 years. Fewer than one in four 16-24-year-olds with a 12-month mental disorder accessed health services in a 12-month period compared with just over one in three of those aged 16-85. The gap in help-seeking was primarily related to higher rates of substance use disorders and low help-seeking associated with these, particularly in young men. The gap in help-seeking in young people with mental health problems is largely due to high rates of substance use disorders and the low rates of help-seeking associated with these. In order to address this gap there is a need for better coordination and integration of mental health and alcohol and drug services within primary care settings. Population health approaches that tackle erroneous beliefs about alcohol and related harms and improve overall mental health literacy are also needed.

Adolescent mental health and substance misuse: the major health challenge for young Australians.
Hickie I and Walter G
Bennett, David L, ed. Towns, Susan J, ed. Elliott, Elizabeth J, ed. Merrick, Joav, ed. Challenges in adolescent health : an Australian perspective. New York : Nova Science Publishers, 2009. Health and human development series. 9781607416166: 39-48

Mental disorders and related substance abuse are a major health issue for young people, and number among the main causes of death and disability in this population. These disorders have a peak onset age in later adolescence and early adulthood, corresponding to neurobiological and social changes in young people. This chapter outlines opportunities for early intervention in this developmental period, with examples from the headspace National Youth and Health Foundation and the Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Mind your head : some things you might want to know about drugs and metal health.
Bowen J and Quiroga J
Moreland, Vic. : UnitingCare Moreland Hall, 2008

This booklet is a resource for young people aged 15-25 years, and for those, including teachers, parents and allied health workers, wanting to know more about the relationship between mental health and substance use. It provides information on different drugs and their effects on mental health, dual diagnosis, strategies for looking after your mental health, and getting help and support.

Australia's homeless youth : a report of the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness.
National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness, National Youth Commission (Brunswick, Vic.), Caledonia Foundation
Brunswick, Vic. : National Youth Commission, 2008.

The National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness was an independent community inquiry conducted in 2007 by the National Youth Commission and funded by The Caledonia Foundation. It examined the problem of youth homelessness in Australia, and developed recommendations for service provision and a 10-point roadmap national action plan.

On the outside : pathways in and out of homelessness
Johnson G, Gronda H and Coutts S
North Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008.

Barriers to access to SAAP services in Australia : focusing on Tasmania.
Woodland J and Forbes J
Parity v. 21 no. 4 May 2008: 8-9

From 2002, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) service system in Tasmania has undergone restructuring. The 2005 SAAP IV Tasmanian evaluation report, 'Evolving ways', highlighted achievements from the restructured service system and informed the strategies of the SAAP V Bilateral Agreement 2005-2010. Recent revisions to the Tasmanian 'SAAP service standards 2006' are designed to improve equity and access to services. In order to achieve improvements in these areas, in 2007 the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services commissioned research into the extent, context and implications of barriers to SAAP services. This article discusses the key barriers, which chiefly relate to challenging behaviours, and how the Tasmanian service model supports young people, people with disabilities, and people with mental illness, substance abuse and comorbidity problems.

There's no place like home: an investigation into the health and housing of Queensland's lesbian, gay and bisexual young people (PDF)
Thorpy L, Reid D, Waldron C, Duivenvoorden N, Ackerman N and Brandon L
Fortitude Valley, Qld : Open Doors Youth Service, 2008.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) young people endure discrimination and prejudice, which is associated with their greater rates of homelessness, early school drop-out, social isolation, emotional distress, suicide and self harm. This report presents the results of the Open Doors 2008 survey, which examined the health and housing statuses of Queensland's LGB young people. The survey explored levels of discrimination, harassment, bullying, abuse and social alienation at school, home, and in the community. The report considers rates of self harm, suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and substance use. It discusses the different forms of bullying and harassment, especially at school, where it is perpetrated by students, teachers, administrators and parents. It also explores the level of sexual abuse experienced and rates of diagnosed mental health problems among these young people. The report argues that sexual health education at school is inadequate, and that Queensland's communities, families, services and schools should become more accepting and supportive of young LGB people.

Young people, substance misuse and mental health problems : the challenge of dual diagnosis
Howell S
London : Library & Information Service, National Children's Bureau, 2007.

Report of reviewable deaths in 2006. Vol. 2, Child deaths.
NSW Ombudsman
Sydney, NSW : NSW Ombudsman, 2007.

Since December 2002, the Ombudsman has had responsibility for reviewing the deaths of people in care or children at risk or known to child protection services in New South Wales. Each year it presents a report of its findings, aiming to identify trends or patterns and recommend to government and service providers ways to prevent or reduce such deaths. The 2006 report has two volumes. Volume 2 focuses on the deaths of children in care, in juvenile detention, known to child protection services or a sibling thereof, or whose death is suspicious or due to maltreatment. In 2006, the deaths of 123 children were reviewable, with 114 of these cases relating to children known to Community Services. The report discusses the work of the Ombudsman, causes and circumstances of death, natural causes of death, significant risk factors identified, systems for identifying and reporting risk of harm, agency responses to risk of harm, coronial responses, and recommendations. Over the past four years, the main risk factors continue to be related to parental substance abuse, parental mental health problems, domestic violence and neglect, and Aboriginal children are still over-represented.

Impact of co-occurring substance use on 6 month outcomes for young people seeking mental health treatment.
Baker K, Lubman D, Cosgrave E, Killackey E, Yuen H, Hides L, Baksheev G, Buckby J and Yung A
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 41 no. 11 Nov 2007 896-902

Co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders are highly prevalent among young people attending services, yet few studies have examined the effect of such comorbidity among those referred for treatment. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of co-occurring substance use disorders (SUDs) on six month outcomes for young people seeking mental health treatment. Young people with a non psychotic disorder were assessed following referral to a specialist youth public mental health service. Of the 106 participants, 23 met criteria for a co-occurring SUD. Both the non SUD and the co-occurring SUD groups had high levels of psychopathology, serious impairments in functioning and moderate levels of suicidal ideation, although those with co-occurring SUD had significantly poorer levels of substantial problems with symptoms and functioning whereas the non SUD group had significant improvement in both of these domains. The findings are consistent with studies examining the impact of co-occurring substance use and mental health issues across different treatment settings, and reinforce recommendations that young people with co-occurring disorders require more intensive and integrated interventions. The findings also highlight the need for routine assessment and management of substance use issues within youth mental health settings.

Intervening early to reduce developmentally harmful substance use among youth populations.
Lubman D, Hides L, Yucel M and Toumbourou J
Medical Journal of Australia v. 187 no. 7 Suppl. 1 Oct 2007 S22-S25

The risk of developing mental health problems, along with other adverse outcomes such as alcohol or drug dependence, educational underachievement and social difficulties, is increased by early onset or frequent substance use during adolescence. This article argues for restricting the supply of licit and illicit substances to adolescents, delaying the age that licit substances can be legally purchased, and banning targeted promotions. Prevention programs such as mass media campaigns that deliver evidence based messages to young people, and clear policy and guidelines for parents about appropriate alcohol use should be developed. Certain groups of young people should be targeted: children and adolescents in families with parents who use drugs, young people who have been suspended from school, or those with mental health problems. A range of health professionals could be used to deliver preventive screening and targeted brief interventions in a variety of settings.

Beliefs of young people and their parents about the harmfulness of alcohol, cannabis and tobacco for mental disorders.
Lubman D, Hides L and Jorm A
Medical Journal of Australia v. 187 no. 5 Sep 2007 266-269

In 2006, a telephone survey of young Australians between the ages of 12 and 25 and their parents was conducted to ascertain their beliefs about the role of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. Participants were presented with a case vignette portraying a young person with psychosis, depression, depression with alcohol misuse, or social phobia. The results showed that over 85 per cent of participants agreed that alcohol, tobacco and marijuana were harmful for the young people in the vignettes, and over 80 per cent of the young participants agreed that the risk of developing a similar problem would be reduced by not using marijuana or drinking alcohol in excess. The study concluded that young people and their parents are aware of the negative impact of substance use on mental disorders, and that a major challenge for public health campaigns is translating this knowledge into behavioural change.

Improving access to mental health services for young people: the role of Headspace.
O'Brien M, Hodges C and Lloyd S
Parity v. 20 no. 1 Feb 2007 22-24

Mental health and related substance abuse disorders are the biggest health issue affecting young Australians. Many young people suffering from mental disorders do not have access to treatment or are reluctant to seek help. The role of Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, is to reduce mental health problems and related substance abuse in young people between the ages of 12 and 25 through a number of initiatives, including improved access to services. This article describes the current mental health status of young Australians, barriers to receiving mental health care, what is needed and what Headspace is planning to do.

Strong bonds: building family connections: fact sheets.
Jesuit Social Services (Melbourne, Vic). Strong Bonds Project
Collingwood, Vic : Strong Bonds, Jesuit Social Services, 2006

These fact sheets provide information for parents on: contact information for support services; types of help available; finding the right service; building family relationships, especially relationships with young people; dealing with conflict in families; dealing with violence; helping young people start over after a crisis; communicating with children and young people; setting boundaries; what to do when there is no relationship; children and young people with complex needs; drug use; mental illness; adolescent development; family dynamics; parenting an adolescent; parenting styles; understanding what went wrong; dealing with past hurts and traumas; parents feeling blamed and guilty; keeping calm; and the importance of parents looking after themselves.

Falling through the cracks: supporting young people with dual diagnosis in rural and regional Victoria.
Kenny A, Kidd S, Tuena J, Jarvis M and Robertson A
Australian Journal of Primary Health v. 12 no. 3 Dec 2006 12-19

There are significant barriers to the provision of optimal care for young people with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse, particularly in rural and regional areas. Dual diagnosis programs that focus on both substance abuse and mental health issues demonstrate greatly improved client outcomes. Developing a peer education program provides one constructive way of involving dual diagnosis consumers in developing more responsive health services. It provides a highly structured and supported way of involving consumers who ordinarily find mental health services bewildering and inaccessible. By drawing on the knowledge and skills of young people with dual diagnosis, and involving them as peer educators, the notion of expertise in lived experience is captured and harnessed to provide the establishment of a consumer focused service that better meets the needs of this complex, often neglected, client group.

Reforming youth mental health.
McGorry P
Australian Family Physician v. 35 no. 5 May 2006 314

Young people aged 12 - 25 years are most susceptible to the onset of mental and substance abuse disorders. Early diagnosis can be critical in addressing psychotic disorders, but is complicated in this age group. This article discusses the neglect of the mentally ill in Australia and the development of new models of care for young people.

Are refugees at increased risk of substance misuse? (PDF1.2MB)
Sowey H
Surry Hills, NSW : Drug and Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre, 2005

Experiences of trauma, loss, adjustment and disadvantage among refugees place them at an increased risk for mental health problems, which in turn increase their risk for substance misuse. This report reviews the published literature on, and looks at models of substance misuse among, refugees. The report focuses on the increased risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among refugees; the relationships between trauma exposure, PTSD and substance misuse; adolescent substance misuse and risk factors and vulnerabilities identified among refugee youth. It includes information gathered in recent consultations with African refugees and community workers in Australia. The report identifies further characteristics, which are unique to this group and appear to place them at even greater risk of psychological distress and substance misuse.

Dual diagnosis support kit : working with families affected by both mental illness and substance misuse
National Illicit Drug Strategy (Australia), New South Wales. Dept. of Community Services
Ashfield NSW : Dept. of Community Services, 2005

The relationship between child sexual abuse and academic achievement in a sample of adolescent psychiatric inpatients.
Buckle S, Lancaster S, Powell M and Higgins D
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 29 no. 9 Sep 2005: 1031-1047

Poor academic achievement is known to be associated with childhood sexual abuse, but the actual mechanisms involved - and its predictive value - are unclear. This article adds to the research by testing the hypothesis that there is not a significant predictive relationship between child sexual abuse and academic achievement, but rather that child sexual abuse and academic achievement are both associated with other types of maltreatment, socio-economic status, perceptions of parenting, psychopathology, and substance abuse. A population of adolescent psychiatric inpatients was chosen for the study as have been found to have higher rates of a range of adversities. This article presents the findings of the study, conducted at the Monash Medical Centre in Victoria with 81 adolescents aged between 12 and 18. The findings suggest that intelligence, substance abuse, internalising behavior problems, and externalising behavior problems influence the relationship between sexual abuse and academic achievement.

ABC of adolescence
Viner R
Malden, Mass. : BMJ Books/Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

"Adolescents undergo rapid physical, psychological and social developmental changes that result in management challenges, communication issues, patterns of disease and symptom presentations that are different from children or adults. This can be challenging for health professionals, who rarely have had specific training in dealing with the young people they meet in their clinical work. This ABC covers topics surrounding adolescent development, sexual behaviour and substance misuse, along with education and preventative strategies. It also features other adolescent health problems such as self-harm, eating disorders and psychosomatic presentations."

Mind the gap: supporting children in families where parents have a dual diagnosis.
Hegarty M
In: Robertson, Sadie et al, eds. Dancing to the beat of a different drum: book of proceedings, 15th Annual TheMHS Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, 31 August-2 September 2005. Balmain, NSW: Mental Health Services Conference Inc. of Australia and New Zealand, 2006, p71-76

The National Illicit Drug Strategy Dual Diagnosis Project is a partnership between the Mental Health Co-ordinating Council (MHCC) and the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS). The project, sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services, aims to improve support for children and young people affected by parental dual diagnosis. In 2004-2005, the Dual Diagnosis Project researched the needs of this population, and developed a series of information resources for workers, families and carers, to improve knowledge about parental dual diagnosis and support available. The project also aimed to improve support for families through the development of practice tools specific to dual diagnosis, improved cross agency collaboration and training.

Supporting children affected by parental dual diagnosis: mental illness and substance abuse: a collaborative mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative.
Hegarty M
Auseinetter no. 25 Dec 2005 21-26

The National Illicit Drug Strategy Dual Diagnosis project aims to improve identification of and support for parents affected by mental illness and substance abuse, and reduce risks to children and young people who are affected by parental dual diagnosis. This article discusses: access to services for people with a dual diagnosis; the complex needs of families affected by dual diagnosis; the impact of dual diagnosis symptoms on parenting and on children; child protection; and resilience, risk and protective factors. It identifies needs for families experiencing dual diagnosis, integrated service delivery, information for children, parents and carers, training for service providers, and practice guidelines and assessment tools.

South Sydney dual diagnosis project.
Geddes J and Barton J
Parity v. 18 no. 8 Sep 2005 22-23

The South Sydney Youth Service dual diagnosis project aims to assist young people who have co existing mental health issues and substance use issues. This article describes how and why the project was developed, how it operates, some project outcomes, and identifies some common service problems for young people presenting with dual diagnosis. It includes two case studies of young homeless people with dual diagnosis.

Pilot project: a collaboration between Northern NEXUS and YSAS: transfer of information between AOD and mental health services.
Hynan C
Parity v. 18 no. 8 Sep 2005 19-20

This project aims to improve communication between alcohol and drug services and the mental health sectors, with a focus on young clients with dual diagnosis presentations. This article describes the project background, goals, project development, project tools and evaluation.

See more resources on Mental illness and substance abuse in the AIFS library catalogue