Distress levels on the rise among young Australians

One in three young Australians aged 12 to 25 are reporting high to very high levels of psychological distress – a figure that has tripled in the last decade.

A combination of factors including young people sleeping less, being less active and eating less healthily, coupled with pressures around school, work and study, all contribute to one’s mental health more so than in previous generations.

Victoria reported the highest percentage of young people who experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress (35 per cent) compared Western Australia and South Australia (33 per cent). New South Wales was ranked fourth (31 per cent), followed by Queensland (29 per cent).

The rates of distress were significantly higher among young women (38 per cent) compared to young men (26 per cent).

Headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan said, “This new research has revealed a startling and deeply concerning increase in the levels of psychological distress currently being experienced by young people throughout Australia, affecting young people of all ages, locations and backgrounds.

“The figures are too high to be ignored or not be taken as serious warning that the mental wellbeing of our future generation needs to be prioritised, nurtured and safeguarded.”

Below are seven healthy mental habits that have been developed in consultation with young people throughout Australia:

  1. Find a passion
  2. Learn new ways to handle tough times through a healthy mindset
  3. Swap digital relationships for close and connected ones
  4. Eat well
  5. Stay active
  6. Get enough sleep
  7. Cut back on alcohol and other drugs.

This research was done by the National Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace, which looks at the mental health and wellbeing of over 4000 young people.

National Mental Health Week falls on October 7–13 on the National Safe Work Month of October.

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