The number of young people in NSW reporting concerns around mental health has risen by 7.3% since last year according to Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2018.
Just under half (45.3%) of NSW young people identified mental health as the top issue facing Australia today – up from 38.0% in 2017 and doubling since 2016. Young people in NSW identified mental health as the top national issue at a higher rate than any other State or Territory.
In line with the national results, the top three personal concerns for NSW young people were coping with stress (44.8%), school or study problems (36.1%) and mental health(32.5%). In previous years, the third most cited item in NSW was body image, which moved to the fourth spot in 2018 (32.0%). Each of the top four personal concerns has strong links to mental health.
Now in its 17th year, the Mission Australia Youth Survey continues to be the most significant annual survey of its kind. A record 28,000 young people aged 15 to 19 took part in the Youth Survey 2018, including 8,211 young people in NSW.
Mission Australia NSW State Director, Nada Nasser said it was time we prioritise listening to young people’s clear and growing concerns around mental health and take immediate action to ensure all young people have access to the right supports.
“It’s important that we acknowledge the robust efforts in NSW, nationally and internationally that have increased public awareness about mental health and helped to reduce the stigma of mental health issues,” Ms Nasser said.
“As a priority, we must ensure that this increased awareness goes hand-in-hand with adequate access to the right help when needed. Access to appropriate and timely support can make a real difference in a young person’s life.”
The results of the Youth Survey are shared across Governments, NGOs and social commentators to inform the debate around the circumstances of young people in Australia and to support the development of policies, services and programs that have the needs of young people at their core.