Ditch expectations and reach out for support

Mental health therapy that works

Young people are urged to ditch health expectations this headspace Day (5 October), with new research revealing 2 in 5 young Australians prefer to deal with their emotional problems alone – many doing so because they’re worried about what others might think.

The headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey of 3107 young people found that 40% of participants were likely to deal with personal or emotional problems on their own instead of speaking to someone else.

The survey also found:

  • More than 2 in 5 young people said they would feel worse about themselves if they could not solve their mental health problems on their own (42%).
  • Among young people who deal with personal or emotional problems on their own, a significant barrier to seeking help was feeling worried about what other people might think (39%).

The survey also explored young people’s views on whether there is a stigma around mental health and help-seeking.

Nearly 6 in 10 people surveyed indicated they feel that there is a stigma around mental illness in Australia (57%), with more than half (52%) revealing they felt there is a stigma around seeking help for a mental illness.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan says it can be confronting asking for support, but young people should know there is always a range of youth-friendly, confidential and low-cost support available for their different needs.

“For young people having a tough time, it’s important they know there is support available, and that they should reach out for help,” says Mr Trethowan.

He points to the variety of ways young people can access support.

“If reaching out face-to-face feels too difficult right now, young people can explore the range of services available online,” says Mr Trethowan.

“The young people I meet at headspace are amazing, with an enormous capacity for resilience – they just need some support on their journeys into adulthood.”

To mark headspace Day, a new campaign has also been launched starring actor Zoe Terakes that encourages young Australians to leave unrealistic expectations behind and reach out for the support they need.

“headspace reminds young people they don’t have to do it all on their own, in fact, they shouldn’t. It’s so vital we reach for and depend on external support,” says Mr Trethowan.

“I’m very grateful for the work headspace is doing to help people through the pointy bits of living.”

With centres across regional and metropolitan Australia, online and phone counselling services, as well as a presence in schools, headspace strives to support all aspects of young people’s wellbeing, including their mental health, physical health (including sexual health), providing alcohol and other drug services, as well as work and study support.

headspace encourages young people, family, or friends in need of support to visit their local headspace centre.

Support is also available via phone and online counselling service eheadspace seven days a week between 9am–1am (AEST). The number is 1800 650 890.

If you’re looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24/7.