Call for action to improve mental health in young people

To mark headspace Day 2021, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation has launched new research that finds more than half of young Australians deal with personal problems on their own, rather than speak to someone (53%). These worrying findings have sparked an urgent call from headspace for all young people to take small, everyday steps that support their mental health and wellbeing.

The headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey also found three in five young people feel there is still stigma around seeking help for a mental illness (61%).

Headspace CEO Jason Trethowan says the events of the past 18 months have put added stress on the mental health and wellbeing of many young people.

“We know young people have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic with major changes to their study, home and social lives.

“That’s why we are so concerned that many young Australians continue dealing with their problems on their own instead of reaching out for help.

“We want young people to know there is always someone you can talk to – be it a trusted adult in your life, a friend, a family member or a service like headspace. You don’t need to go it alone.

Mr Trethowan says it’s never been more important for young people to implement health habits that support mental health.

“Just as we’ve implemented physical health measures to protect against Covid-19, there are small steps we can take to support our mental health.

“Small steps might include going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to create a sense of routine. You might schedule a lunchtime walk or a phone call with a loved one. You might allocate an hour of the day where you do something for yourself like trying out a new recipe or listening to music you love.

“These steps might seem simple, but they’re the first things to go when times get hard.

“Young people are incredibly resilient and with the right skills they can and do get through challenging periods in their lives. Let’s encourage and build these habits now.”

Headspace Youth National Reference Group member Jasmine Elliott, 20, lives in Melbourne and has been unable to visit her family in Queensland because of travel restrictions.

“Some days and weeks are tough,” says the university student.

“But doing what’s within my power right now helps me find peace during lockdown and to focus on the future.

“Creating structure within the chaos of life is helping me stay strong: small steps like getting the groceries, cooking energising meals, setting a regular sleep schedule and getting outside when my body needs to move.

“I’m also finding different ways of staying connected with people, like studying with classmates over Zoom and joining online art classes.”

 

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