Prevalence of adverse life events, depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviour among a community sample of young people aged 15–24 years Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To provide prevalence data on several key mental health indicators for young people aged 15 to 24 years. METHODS: A cross-sectional household survey, using telephone recruitment followed by a postal pencil-and-paper questionnaire. The overall response rate was 67.3%. RESULTS: Difficulties with interpersonal relationships are common causes of distress for young people, in particular problems with parents, problems with friends and relationship break-ups. Depressive symptomatology is common among young people with approximately one in eight males and one in four females reporting current depressive symptomatology. One in three young people reported that they had had suicidal thoughts at some time in the past, 1.2% of young people reported that they had made a plan on how to kill themselves in the four-week period prior to completing the survey and 6.9% of young people reported that they had tried to kill themselves at some time during their life time (4.2% of males and 9.0% of females). CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The prevalence figures for the various mental health indicators presented in this paper represent good baseline information upon which to examine the progress over time of interventions designed to improve the mental health of young people.

publication date

  • October 2001