For health professionals

Key points

  • For most adults living with a mental health disorder, symptoms started before the age of 24 years. This emphasises the importance of early diagnosis and management.
  • Establish trust to facilitate open communication, which may inform a comprehensive psychosocial assessment and increase understanding of what is important to a young person when preparing individualised management options.
  • Ask about suicidal thoughts regularly, and develop a safety plan. These are essential risk-management strategies when caring for young people with mental health issues.
  • Support young people to use lifestyle and social management strategies as the foundation of management. Support should also be given to help them engage with psychological options that meet their needs and preferences.
  • Consider trialling an SSRI when symptoms of depression and/or anxiety disorder are severe, or psychological treatment is not possible or not effective. Monitor for suicidal thoughts and behaviours after medicine initiation, particularly in young people.


  • Episode 42: Exploring digital interventions for mental health
    NPS MedicineWise medical advisor Dr Caroline West speaks with Dr Michael Millard, director of the clinical research unit for anxiety and depression at St. Vincent's Hospital. They discuss how early interventions with effective support, engagement and management can make all the difference to young people and their mental health.
  • Episode 44: Engaging with young people on their mental health
    When it comes to young people's mental health, what can GPs do to make a real difference? How do you work together with someone to help them open up when they're depressed and withdrawn? How do you create time for mental health consults? How do you do safety planning and foster strengths and a sense of hope?

Listening to any of these podcasts can be recorded (in 30-minute increments) as self-directed CPD learning. RACGP members can use Quick Log to record this activity.


GP support videos and clinical resources

Effective conversations with young people about mental health issues. Dr Caroline West and Jahin a patient with a lived experience discuss the ins and outs in this series of shorts videos.

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Educational visits for GPs

Educational visits will focus on how to engage with young people to empower them and increase their autonomy, and support informed decision-making. The visit will cover management options for depression and anxiety disorders in addition to engagement with young people about mental health issues.

Educational visits are available as a 30-minute one-on-one in-practice discussion; a virtual visit via video call; or a 1-hour small-group in-practice meeting for up to 10 health professionals. (Cost: Free)

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Choosing Wisely Australia

Choosing Wisely Australia helps healthcare providers and consumers have important conversations about improving the quality of healthcare by reducing unnecessary and sometimes harmful tests, treatments, and procedures.

5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider is a resource that can help patients ensure they end up with the right amount of care.

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Mental health and young people: Quality use of medicines briefing paper

This briefing paper provides key insights about mental health and young people, including the scale of the issue, clinical practice challenges and barriers to helping young people in psychological distress, and current programs and activities that are addressing the problem.

The aim of the briefing paper is to build momentum for shared action to address the mental health of young people.