Young people are much more concerned about mental health than they were two years ago, according to the latest Mission Australia report.
The survey of 28,000 people found mental health was the top issue facing Australia in the eyes of people aged 15 to 19. Two years ago it was alcohol and drugs, and equity and discrimination.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
The survey asked respondents to list three issues they considered the most important in Australia – from bullying to population issues.
While most surveyed said they felt happy and positive about their lives, almost half of young people (43 per cent) listed mental health as the nation’s biggest concern – up from 33 per cent last year and 20.6 per cent in 2016.
Seventeen per cent felt bullying was a concern – up from 10 per cent in 2016.
Concerns about environment, education, the economy and financial matters, and equity and discrimination have fallen since 2016.
About 60 per cent felt either positive or very positive about the future.
Female respondents tended to be more concerned about bullying and mental health, while males tended to be concerned about alcohol and drugs.
The cost and availability of housing plus financial stability were the main barriers to moving out of home.
Mission Australia CEO James Toomey called for immediate action to address young people’s clear and growing concerns around mental health.
“The service system is difficult to navigate and the support offered can be patchy, especially outside of metro areas,” he said.
“[It’s] often not tailored to the needs of young people.
“We want to see investment in evidence-based programs that promote mental health and wellbeing in schools and holistic support for young people.”
This piece was originally published on ‘Triple J Hack‘, 28 November 2018.