15 November 2001

Young adults who suffer from depression, anxiety and/or substance use problems are needed for a University of Queensland study examining the gender differences in mental health problems.

Nicole Shepherd, a doctoral student in the School of Social Science, is collecting the life stories of 18 to 24-year-olds to examine the way common experiences and perceptions of the world influence the experience of a mental illness.

"A national survey carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1997 showed that almost one in four young people suffered from depression, anxiety problems and/or substance use problems," Ms Shepherd said.

"However, there was a vast difference between men and women, with more women suffering from depression and anxiety, and men, substance abuse."

Ms Shepherd said the study would look for the life stories behind the statistics to improve understanding of why the gender difference exists, as well as to better understand the nature of mental health problems faced by young people.

Participants will be interviewed, either face-to-face, by phone or on-line in a private chat room.

People choosing face-to-face interviews will be reimbursed for any expenses, such as bus or taxi fares, they incur during their participation.

Ms Shepherd said participants would be asked about favourite activities, health, perception of the world and how they coped with difficulties in their lives.

For more information, contact Nicole Shepherd (mobile 0402 518 480) or email: n.shepherd@uq.edu.au

For further details, visit: www.uq.edu.au/~uqnsheph/