General Practitioners' management of young people with mental health conditions in Australia

Michelle Kehoe*, Toby Winton-Brown, Stuart Lee, Liza Hopkins, Glenda Pedwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Detecting and diagnosing youth mental health issues can be challenging for General Practitioners (GPs) who are often the first to encounter them. One aim of this study was to understand the challenges GPs faced in identifying, treating and referring young people with mental health issues in Melbourne, Australia. A second aim was to identify gaps in GP knowledge and service provision in order to design a service and training program for GPs that addresses those gaps. Method: A representative sampling method was used to invite GPs in south-east Melbourne to complete the study survey. Seventy-seven GPs completed the questionnaire consisting of 10 questions in 3 sections. Results: The results showed that GPs who consulted with young people more often had greater levels of confidence in identifying and treating their mental health issues but not referring. Forty-four percent identified the need for training in regards to youth mental health. GPs considered that the most effective care was provided in youth-friendly spaces but tended to primarily refer young people to private providers. Conclusion: GPs need access to ongoing professional development and education programs on youth mental health, in particular more severe issues such as psychosis. Specialist youth mental health services such as CYMHS/CAMHS and headspace can offer GPs support in managing mental health issues in young people. However, there is a need to strengthen the link between GPs and specialist youth mental health service. Stronger links between services will ensure young people have timely and increased access to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-129
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • general practitioner
  • headspace
  • mental health
  • primary care
  • youth


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