Tykara Lang sought refuge when her classmates ran outside to play.
Most days it was the library or the school room where she sat quietly, wishing the lunch would go by without coming.
A girl of only nine, Lang suffered serious mental health problems. She had already been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
The taunts were relentless and Lang's striking red hair did little to help her mix.
In its darkest moments, I did not see an exit in the elementary school library in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Neither did she want to.
"When you're in a spiral like that, that sadness is pretty much everything you have," Lang said. "To be honest, probably for a long time I did not want to help myself."
"I wanted to be in this bubble where no one could touch me. I wanted to live this life in complete isolation. "
Lang was helped during her childhood by a child psychologist, but said she began to see gaps in the mental health system during her adolescence.
She is now 19. an advocate of youth mental health and says that more needs to be done to support young Australians and develop the support skills of families and friends.
Lang is far from alone.
A new survey of 24,055 young Australians, published today by Mission Australia, show that mental health has been identified as the most important problem in the nation, the first time that mental health tops the list.
About a third of young people (33.7%) registered mental health as the most important problem in Australia, doubling from 14.9% in 2015.
Mission Australia executive director, James Toomey, said that Results showed the need for a comprehensive, coordinated and cohesive national response to the mental health of young people.
That included more investment in universal mental health programs in schools and more funds for community-based mental health services, he said.
It also requires giving families and friends the skills to be able to help young people with mental health problems.
"This report tells us that many young people who face challenges approach friends and family in search of support," Toomey said. "I can tell you from experience that family and friends need to know how to navigate the disconcerting variety of services and information sources that are available, and receive specific information about mental health first aid and other practical supports that exist. . "
Earlier this year, a joint report produced by the Black Dog Institute and Mission Australia showed that one in four Australian teens met the criteria for experiencing a" probable serious mental illness. "
A 2015 government-funded study found that almost one in seven (13.9%) of people aged 4 to 17 had experienced a mental disorder in the past 12 months, the equivalent of approximately 560,000 children and Australian teenagers.
Experts remain concerned about the lack of available services for young people experiencing mental health problems.
Junior mental health expert and former Australian of the year Patrick McGorry said last week that mental health services for young people were "threadbare" and a "wasteland" in the most populous states.
Funding for mental health of young people in the public health system had decreased at a time when it should be increased.
"We do not have a mental health system for young people," McGorry told ABC. "We have a system of children and adolescents and then a system for adults, in which young people fall into a great abyss."
McGorry a long time ago for a stronger and earlier intervention and helped set up Headspace, which has 100 mental health centers for young people across the country.
But he said that the basic investment for Headspace was decreasing and that it had to be better linked to high schools and more experience to deal with more complex cases.
"If it were some form of cancer that affected young people, or a serious physical illness, we would see a quite different approach."
Lang considers herself lucky. Despite developing an eating disorder, experiencing homelessness, living in a youth shelter and suffering a catastrophic relapse, now it's fine.
Group therapy has been very helpful. She is in a safer home, works and is preparing to study nursing.
"Over the past year and a half, I have been doing a lot more advocacy work in the public health system," he said. "That has helped me, I've found my little passion and it's beautiful."