Mental health, suicide prevention and young people

Mental health is important at every stage of life – but the changes of adolescence and early adulthood can make this a challenging time. Find out more about mental health and wellbeing, issues for young people, how to support someone and when and how you can get help.

Need help now? 

If you, or someone else, is in immediate danger please call triple zero (000). Or for immediate support, see the crisis support services on Head to Health. 

About mental health 

Mental health is about our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.  

Good mental health means generally living life in a satisfying way. It includes: 

  • engaging in school or work 
  • connecting with friends, families and your communities 
  • managing stresses 
  • coping well with life's ups and downs.   

It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, angry or anxious sometimes. But when these feelings last for longer than usual and start to affect your everyday life, it's important to find out what’s going on and what to do about it.  

Why mental health is important 

Adolescence and young adulthood can be an exciting time. You’re figuring out who you are and what’s important to you.  

There are also lots of changes happening in your: 

  • brain 
  • body 
  • emotions 
  • relationships.  

These changes can make this a challenging time for your mental health. It’s a time when mental health issues may emerge and extra support may be needed. 

Good mental health is important so you can enjoy life and deal with its challenges. Understanding your mental health and how to cope in helpful ways sets you up for a healthy future.  


Self-harm is when people deliberately hurt themselves. Young people often report that they self-harm to try and manage distressing emotions or when feeling overwhelmed by feelings, thoughts or memories.  

For some young people, self-harm is a one-off event. For others, it can happen several times or become a repeated behaviour that can be hard to change. 

If a person is self-harming, it doesn’t always mean they’re thinking about suicide. But people who self-harm are at an increased risk of suicide.  

The consequences of self-harming can be serious. But with the right help, people can learn different ways to cope and, over time, rely less on self-harm as a strategy. 

Find more information on what you need to know about self-harm

Suicidal thoughts and behaviours  

Suicidal thoughts can happen as part of a mental health condition and can also occur when life circumstances have been difficult and stressful. There are many factors that can contribute to suicidal thoughts or feelings. 

Help is available if you are experiencing mental health issues, self-harming or feeling suicidal. It is important you know you don’t need to act on thoughts about suicide or urges to self-harm.  

You can put off any decision to act on the thoughts. You can give yourself some time to get some support and get past this difficult time.  

Find more information on understanding and dealing with suicide

Groups at greater risk  

Young people are at greater risk of mental health issues if they are from diverse groups or rural and remote areas.  

Learn about support for: 

Looking after wellbeing 

Getting into good habits when young sets you up for a mentally healthy future. You can look after and boost your wellbeing, and it’s a great way to protect your mental health day to day.  

Learn more: 

When to seek help 

We can all struggle with our mental health and wellbeing at times. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions and have ups and downs. But if difficult times and feelings of distress stick around or are concerning you, help is available.  

Learn more about when to seek help on the Head to Health website: 

How to seek help 

If you, or someone else, is in immediate danger please call triple zero (000). Or for immediate support, see the crisis support services on Head to Health. 

Many people experience mental health issues. Seeking help is the first step towards feeling better. Here are some options: 

See our full list of mental health contacts

How to support a young person 

It can be hard to know where to start when you’re worried about someone. Telling them you’re concerned about them and why and letting them know help is available is a good start.  

Learn more about: 

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