The gap between perceived mental health needs and actual service utilization in Australian adolescents.
Despite being highly prevalent, adolescent mental health problems are undertreated. To better understand the mental health treatment gap, we assessed the prevalence and correlates of help-seeking, including perceived need for care and access to that care. Data were drawn from Young Minds Matter (YMM) survey-the second Australian child and adolescents survey of mental health and wellbeing. Parent-reported data and self-reported child data were combined into one dataset to analyse 2464 Australian adolescents aged 13-17 years. We employed bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models to assess the correlation between independent variables (professionally assessed with mental disorders only, self-reported self-harm/suicidality only and both) and their distribution over outcome variables (perceived need and service use). Mental disorders include depression, anxiety, ADHD and conduct disorder. Our study revealed 15.0%, 4.6% and 7.7% had professionally assessed with mental disorders only, self-reported self-harm/suicidality only and both, respectively. Overall, 47.4% and 27.5% of adolescents respectively perceived need for care and used services in the past-12-months. While among those only who perceived the need, only 53% of adolescents used any services. Professionally assessed with mental disorders only, self-reported self-harm/suicidality only and both were associated with higher likelihood of perceived need and service use (p < 0.001 for all). However, adolescents who self-reported self-harm/suicidality only were not found to be significantly associated with service use among those who perceived the need for care. Adolescents who perceived the need for mental health care but did not seek care represent a treatment gap. Our results suggest the importance of reducing the wide treatment gap that exists between need and care.