Evidence suggests that nearly half of all mental health problems begin before the age of 14.

In early childhood, certain risk factors present before 6 months of age can predict increasing levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms in the first 5 years of a child’s life. These rates have also been reported worldwide for infants and preschoolers.
In later childhood, it has been estimated that 1 in 7 school-age children has a mental health problem, like anxiety, depression or behaviour problems, but only 1 in 4 gets the help they need.
These figures, together with low levels of access to mental health treatments and interventions, reinforce the need for population-based childhood mental health models.
Education settings are well-placed to comprehensively support mental health and wellbeing in collaboration with families and the community. 


  1. Kessler, R., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K., & Walters, E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593 – 602.

  2. Côté S.M., Boivin M., Liu X., Nagin D.S., Zoccolillo M., & Tremblay, R.E. (2009). Depression and anxiety symptoms: Onset, developmental course and risk factors during early childhood. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50(10), 1201-1208.

  3. Sawyer, M. G., Arney, F. M., Baghurst, P. A., Clark, J. J., Graetz, B. W., Kosky, R. J., et al. (2001). The mental health of young people in Australia: Key findings from the child and adolescent component of the national survey of mental health and well-being. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 35, 806-814.