News

Most young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report great health


Doug Hendrie


31/10/2018 4:09:02 PM

Nearly two-thirds of Australia’s young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people rate their health as very good or excellent, according to a new report.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report good health and happiness.
Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report good health and happiness.

And an even larger majority (76%) reported feeling happy all or most of the time in the previous month.
 
The report, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescent and youth health and wellbeing: In brief, was launched today at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Members’ Conference.
 
Around one in 20 young people in Australia is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
 
The report found that half of the 10–24 year olds surveyed identified with a clan, tribal or language group, with almost 70% reporting being involved with indigenous cultural events over the previous year.
 
The report also found a surge in Year 12 attainment among 20–24 year olds, jumping from 47% in 2006 to 65% a decade later.
 
Most (83%) young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had access to a local GP, with the proportion undergoing health checks rising from 6% in 2010 to 22% in 2016. 
 
AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman said that although young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people generally have good health based on a range of measures, not all are as healthy as they could be.
 
‘Experiences of unfair treatment or racism, mental health, injuries and experiences of violence were areas of concern,’ she said.
 
Mental health is a particular challenge, with around one in three young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reporting high to very high psychological distress in the previous month, as of 2014–15.
 
The leading contributors to disease burden for 10–24 year olds in 2011 were suicide and self-inflicted injury (13%) and anxiety disorders (8%).
 
Smoking, alcohol and substance use were also areas of concern.
 
While there was an increase in the number of young people who never smoked from 44% in 2002 to 56% in 2014–15, three in 10 still smoked daily.
 
Dr Al-Yaman said social factors – such as education, employment and housing –play an important role in health and wellbeing.
 
‘In 2016, two in five – or 42% –young Indigenous Australians aged 20–24 were not engaged in education, employment or training. For young Indigenous people aged 10–24, not being able to get a job was the leading cause of personal stress,’ she said.
 
A more comprehensive report will be issued next month.



aboriginal and torres strait islander health social determinants of health young people's health





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