Objectives: To determine whether the prevalence of mental health problems among adolescents on court ordered remand in South Australia has changed since 1989. To compare the prevalence of mental health problems reported among adolescents on remand in 1989 and 2008/09 with the prevalence among adolescents in the general community.
Method: Mental health problems were identified using the Youth Self-Report (YSR), which was completed by 11-17 year olds on remand in South Australia in 1989 (n=100) and in 2008/09 (n=197), and 13-17 year olds (n=1,283) in the national survey of mental health problems among Australian adolescents conducted in 1998.
Results: Although adolescents on remand reported somewhat fewer mental health problems in 2008/09 than were reported in 1989, the prevalence of problems in both groups of adolescents on remand was significantly higher than that reported for adolescents in the general community.
Conclusion: Adolescents on remand have a much higher prevalence of mental health problems than other adolescents in the community, with little change evident over the past 20 years.
Implications: To reduce the high levels of mental health problems experienced by adolescents on remand, interventions need to provide effective management and treatment both during the time adolescents are on remand and after they return to the general community.
© 2010 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2010 Public Health Association of Australia.