In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000

Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

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For a poison emergency in Australia call


Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700


24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Sun Protection Behaviours

Indicator description

The proportion of young people in the ACT who got sunburnt at least once in the previous summer.

What do we measure?

The proportion of ACT secondary school students aged 12-17 years who, in the summer of the previous year, got a sunburn that was sore or tender the next day.

Why is this important?

During adolescence, young people face new challenges, learn new skills and lead more independent lives. Risk-taking behaviour can be part of this development. Excessive exposure to the sun has been identified as a risk-taking behaviour for adolescents, with overexposure to the sun and a tendency to burn rather than tan increasing an individual's risk of developing skin cancer in later life.46

Young people in the ACT have demonstrated a significantly higher preference for a suntan compared to older age groups of the population.47

Policy Context

The It's Your Move (IYM) program enables high school students to develop creative solutions to improving school health. Following the design thinking process, students develop and implement a project to suit the individual needs of their school.

As part of IYM in 2015, Campbell High School found that students needed to be encouraged to wear hats at school, even on the hottest days, and while baseball hats were popular with many students they did not meet SunSmart standards. Students created Street Hero, a series of trendy hats for students to wear. They created a design that would appeal to the teenage audience and then had them produced for sale at the school. The project has used the social enterprise model to create a sustainable business that is still operating in their school.

Merici College have also identified the need to promote SunSmart behaviours at their school. They have formed a partnership with the Cancer Council ACT and have produced a range of materials to educate and promote SunSmart behaviours and also dispensed sunscreen in various sizes, as well as wall-mounted pump dispensers.

How is the ACT Progressing?

Source: Australian Secondary Students' Alcohol and Drug survey (ASSAD), 1999-2017

Source: Australian Secondary Students' Alcohol and Drug survey (ASSAD), 1999-2017

In 2017, 68.7 per cent of students reported getting sunburnt at least once over the previous summer, with no significant difference between males (65.6%) and females (72.9%) (Figure 28) and no significant difference between younger students aged between 12 and 15 years (65.8%) and older students aged between 16 and 17 years (74.8%) (Figure 29).

The results for all students has decreased significantly over time from 77.8 per cent in 1999 to 68.7 per cent in 2017, with the proportion of males significantly decreasing from 77.9 per cent to 65.6 per cent, whereas there has not been a significant change for females for the same timeframe (77.6% in 1999; 72.9% in 2017) (Figure 28). There has been a significant decrease for 12-15 year olds from 77.1 per cent in 1999 to 65.8 per cent in 2017, but no significant change for 16-17 year olds (79.2% in 1999 to 74.8% in 2017) over this period (Figure 29).

Note Questions about sun protection behaviours were not included in the 1996 ASSAD survey.

46 ACT Government 2011, Health Status of Young People in the ACT, p.31, and NHMRC 1999, Clinical Practice Guidelines: The Management of Cutaneous Melanoma, p. 9
47 ACT Government, op cit., p. 31 and 2013 Results of the 2011 ACT Secondary Student Drug and Alcohol Survey, p. 37.