[ASC-media] Aboriginal youth at greater risk of mental health problems

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Sat Sep 9 11:27:54 CEST 2006

Aboriginal youth at greater risk of mental health problems

Survey shows twenty four percent at high risk

Australia's only Aboriginal psychiatrist says that Aboriginal infants,
children and adolescents have higher rates of disadvantage than the
general community, leading to more emotional and mental health problems.

Dr Helen Milroy, a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region
of Western Australia, is a child psychiatrist and the first Aboriginal
to qualify in medicine. She is presenting her findings at IACAPAP, an
international conference on infant, child and adolescent mental health
in Melbourne,

She is a passionate advocate for children having healthier lives and was
involved in writing and analysing a landmark report on Aboriginal child
health in Western Australia.

The WA survey found 24 percent of Aboriginal children aged 4-17 were
found to be at high risk of clinically significant emotional or
behavioural difficulties, compared with 15 percent in the non-Aboriginal

There was a clear link between family and household factors and risk of
clinically significant emotional or behavioural difficulties. The
strongest link was where there had been a large number of high-stress
events, such as illness, family break-up, arrests or financial

More than one in five children lived in families where there had been
seven or more high stress events in the preceding 12 months.

Many families functioned poorly, one third of children were in the care
of a sole parent. About 12 percent of children were being looked after
by a parent who had been forcibly removed from their natural family.

Dr Milroy is available for interview to discuss the situation on the
ground, and what can be done to improve the lives of indigenous

When: Sunday 10 September 2006 at 1pm
Where: Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne
More info on the survey at www.ichr.uwa.edu.au/waachs/
Media inquiries: Jo Gajewski: 0429 388 822, jo at scienceinpublic.com 

Niall Byrne
Science in Public
Ph +61 3 5253 1391
niall at scienceinpublic.com
OR niallprivate at scienceinpublic.com
PO Box 199, Drysdale Vic Australia

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