Mental health problems are common in young people. Any child can experience mental health problems, but some children are more vulnerable than others including those who have experienced stressful life events such as family conflict and bullying. Mental illness is associated with poor educational outcomes, family disruption, disability, offending and antisocial behaviour; placing demands on welfare services, schools and the youth justice system.

Last updated: 09 October 2018

The best available estimate suggests that around 14% of children and adolescents aged 4-17 years experience a mental disorder. Half of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14 and three quarters before their mid-20s emphasizing the importance of timely detection and management.

In NSW, over the next 10 years we will see a 10% increase in the population of those aged 0-17 year olds. Based on these growth patterns, specialist mental health services for this age group will need to grow significantly to meet the need.

Funding for Mental Health Reform in 2017/18

Under the NSW Government’s response to Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 investment in specialist community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for children and adolescents particularly for those with the greatest clinical need related to severe and acute problems and increased risk of harm to themselves or others.

From 2017/18, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services will expand with a further $2.2 million to assist Local Health Districts in managing demand and ensuring young people with a mental illness receive the specialist care they need. Local Health Districts will deliver additional assertive outreach community CAMHS and consultation to the health, welfare and education sectors through what is known as a consultation liaison service.

The expansion will increase outreach consultation liaison to hospital based non-specialist CAMHS settings as well as building the capacity of non-specialist services to deliver developmentally appropriate care for children and adolescents with mental health problems, their families and carers.

Enhanced community CAMHS through consultation liaison complements existing interagency partnerships. The focus will be on community settings such as schools, out of home care as well as hospital based settings including Emergency Departments and Paediatric wards. Collaborative work with these keypartners will improve the delivery of integrated and comprehensive care for children, adolescents and their families across NSW.

Learn more about mental health care reform in NSW ​​​

Page Updated: Tuesday 9 October 2018
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch