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The researchers analysed data from 170 different diseases and injuries for the article.
Anxiety and depression was found to be the highest cause of disability, with 17 percent among 20-24 year old males and 27 percent in 20-24 year old females.
“Our study, using one of the largest most comprehensive data sets available on the health of Australians, provides compelling evidence of the scale of disability caused by mental disorders in young people,” said Ms Rebecca Mathews, lead research and senior research assistant with the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research.
“ADHD and Autism together cause as much disability as anxiety and depression in young men, but are less common in young women who are more affected by eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.”
Professor Louisa Degenhardt said the study’s findings confirmed that the change into puberty can often be difficult for young people.
“We know the major contributors to disability in young Australians are a mixture of mental disorders and some particular physical disorders such as asthma and migraine,” said Ms Degenhardt.
The government has launched a new line of inquiry into mental barriers to employment, which covers a variety of mental health issues.
The move has been widely supported by charitable organisations that work with people suffering from mental illnesses.
Professor Degenhardt said that this report looking at young people in particular should help focus the attention towards helping cover the transition from using child health care services to adult health care services.