Big picture trends and challenges in youth health
New Zealand has had large improvements in some areas of adolescent health over the last twenty years, including in motor vehicle related behaviours, and substance use. However, as is common in other developed nations, we have seen an approximate doubling of adolescent distress and rates of depressive symptoms in the last decade. Increases are even more marked for those who faced inequities to begin with. In the most recent Youth2000 data around 1/3 or more of Māori, Pacific and Asian girls, students with disabilities and rainbow students reported clinically significant depressive symptoms and only 40% of secondary school students appear to be 'doing well' across all mental health indicators.
Why and what can we do about this?
In this session we will discuss what we can learn from areas of adolescent health where we have seen major gains as well how we address high rates of distress in communities and as primary health care providers.