Among high school students, one in three girls and a quarter of boys are found to be depressed, with many turning to violence, alcohol and unwanted sex to deal with their depression.
The research of almost 4500 year 7 to 12 students also found that 34 per cent of girls and 30 per cent of boys were constantly under strain and unable to deal with their difficulties, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
More than 50 per cent had low levels of resilience and of those, 43 per cent believed that violence was an appropriate way to solve their relationship issues.
One in three were drinking at dangerous levels, and about 25 per cent lacked the confidence to say no to unwanted sexual experiences, while 16 per cent felt that it was necessary to carry a weapon.
10 per cent of the students from schools surveyed in Victoria, Queensland, SA and NSW, had also indulged in gambling last year.
The findings, from Resilient Youth Australia, have also prompted calls for the federal government to make emotional resilience lessons part of the national curriculum.