Many of the families participating in Young Minds Matter gave permission to access NAPLAN results. With funding from the Australian Government Department of Education, an analysis has been undertaken of the impact of mental disorders on students' attendance, connectedness, engagement and performance at school.
Mental disorders are common in Australian school students. Mental disorders affected 1 in 7 students in the previous 12 months.
Students with mental disorders have poorer NAPLAN results. Students with mental disorders scored lower on average than students with no mental disorder in every test domain and Year level.
Gaps in achievement increase from Year 3 to Year 9. On average, students with a mental disorder in Year 3 were 7 to 11 months behind students with no mental disorder, but by Year 9 students with a mental disorder were on average 1.5 - 2.8 years behind.
Students accessing services for mental disorders benefit but the gaps do not fully close.
Students with mental disorders have more absences from school. In Years 7-12 students with a mental disorder missed an average 24 days per year compared with 11 days for students without a mental disorder.
Students with mental disorders have lower levels of connectedness to school and engagement with school work.
The combination of mental disorders and socio-economic disadvantage compounds the impact on academic achievement.