More than one in five young Queenslanders could be living with a serious mental illness, according to a report released by Mission Australia today.
According to the report, 21.9 per cent of young Queenslanders met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness, up from 18.6 per cent in 2012.
The Mission Australia Youth Mental Health Report found Queensland female teens were almost twice as likely as male teens to be living with psychological distress: up to 29.2 per cent in 2016 from 22.2 per cent in 2012, compared to male teens who were down 12.2 per cent in 2016 from 12.7 per cent in 2012.
The report also found 25.3 per cent of Young Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents met the criteria for having a probably serious mental illness compared to 21.8 per cent for non-Indigenous youth.
Those who were likely to have a mental illness cited coping with stress, school and study problems, depression and body image as their top issues of concern, according to Mission Australia.
Family conflict, bullying and suicide were also a high level of concern.
Mission Australia's Queensland state director Darren Young said the number of young Queenslanders facing serious mental illness was "alarming".
"The effects of mental illness at such a young age can be debilitating and incredibly harmful to an individual's quality of life, academic achievement, and social participation both in the short term and long term," he said.
Nationally in 2016, just under one in four teenagers, 22.8 per cent, who responded to the survey met the criteria for having a probably serious mental illness, a rise from 18.7 per cent in 2012.
The report - done in collaboration with the Black Dog Institute, a research body dedicated to reducing the incidence of mental illness - built on five years of mental health data collected from young people across Australia.
More than 15,000 Queenslanders aged 15-19 were surveyed and asked about a range of issues including levels of psychological distress measured by the Kessler 6, a six item scale that asks about anxiety and depressive symptoms during the respondent's previous four weeks.
Parents, schools and community need to play a role in providing support to those who are struggling, after the report found that young people with mental illness were turning to the internet as a source of help, Black Dog Institute Director Professor Helen Christensen said.
"This report shows that young people who need help are seeking it reluctantly, with a fear of being judged continuing to inhibit help-seeking," she said.
More investment is needed to drive a proactive and united approach to delivering new mental health programs which resonate with young people, and to better integrate these initiatives across schools and the health system to help young people on a path to a mentally healthier future."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.