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There have been stories and news items about the youth of Australia suffering from poor mental health, and it’s always nice to have the statistics to back it up. Now we actually have them.
Thanks to a national survey that was released by the researchers at headspace, there is now a clear and definitive picture of the head space of Australian youth. It’s not pretty.
Out of the students surveyed who study at universities around the nation and TAFE, 79% of them said that they had been feeling anxious and 75.8% had been suffering from a low mood. Other statistics include 59.2% feeling worthless and hopeless, and 35.4% having thoughts of self-harm and suicide. These mental health issues had been impacting not only their studies, but their lives, over the last 12 months.
According to the CEO at headspace, Jason Trethowan, the results aren’t surprising.
“Like all big life transitions, after finishing year 12 young people can be more vulnerable, they are an at-risk group with no clear check-in point for mental health difficulties.
“They might have moved out of home for the first time, they might have greater responsibilities financially, and domestically. Some young people might engage in risky behaviours such as drug use. They may have less parental contact leaving them vulnerable and changes in their mental health going unnoticed.
“They are a group that can fall through the cracks.”
Mental health is something that not many people feel confident talking about. Although there is access to more resources and mental health apps than ever before, it’s clear that Aussie youth don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help despite how badly they might need it. Amelia Walters, 18, felt overwhelmed with university and found help at headspace. “We don’t talk enough about just how hard university is – not just in academics, but as a total readjustment, self-discovery period,” she said.
Now a headspace Youth Advocate, she feels there is a lack of conversation in the transition between high school and university, and about feeling disconnected.
“There is this idea that everyone else is managing and is succeeding, but it’s not the case, and many people still don’t talk about the pressure because there is a stigma in admitting that you’re struggling.”
headspace is one of the best resources available to a young person that is going through issues with their mental health. Their website is full of tips to deal with mental health issues, so feel free to check them out here.
No matter how you prefer to communicate, there’s an option for you! There is help out there.