Almost a third of GP referrals for depression are for teenagers and children as young as 10, a West Australian health and community organisation has found.
A report published by 360 Health + Community on Monday shows a further 31 per cent of referrals are for those in the 20 to 29 age category, with this age group accounting for 40 per cent of all suicide prevention referrals.
Mental health executive manager Donna Lawrence said depression among the young had increased dramatically over the past decade.
Pressures mounting on children included cyber-bullying and presenting a socially desirable image of themselves on social media, she said, while the 20 to 29 age group was having to come to terms with the fact that living independently from their parents was very expensive.
"Unemployment, underemployment, the insecurity of casual employment and a poor job market after university graduation creates added financial pressure and a sense of hopelessness," Dr Lawrence said.
"Our binge drinking culture and methamphetamine use is also having a substantial impact on mental health, which includes depression and suicidality."
Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact the Depression Helpline (from 8am to midnight) on 0800 111 757.