Regional youth are unable to access needed mental health services despite higher rates of mental illness and suicide than their city cousins.

A Griffith University study revealed 142 regional Queenslanders aged between 15 and 24 years killed themselves between 2011 and 2013.

The study found in regional areas 18 people aged 15-24 died for every 100,000 people. In remote parts of the state. that climbed to 52 suicides for every 100,000 people. In Brisbane, there were 14 suicides for every 100,000 people aged 15-24.

Experts have called for greater access to mental health support for regional youth – including through telehealth services.

The lack of services may also be increasing rates bills, with the Local Government Association of Queensland finding 44 councils spent $26million annually on “non-traditional” services, including mental health support.

The LGAQ said councils had attempted to pick up the slack following state and federal government cuts.

The organisation plans to lobby both governments to increase funding for better availability of and accessibility to rural and remote mental health services.

Youth support organisation Yourtown’s Brendan Bourke said in-person mental health services were lacking in regional Queensland, with thousands of regional young people calling the company’s Kids Helpline service every year.

– Geoff Egan

Read more: The Tragic Truth: Why Regional Kids Are Taking Their Lives

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