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Mental Health Week: young people at alarming levels of distress

New headspace data has revealed that young people are at alarming levels of psychological distress

New headspace research has revealed alarming levels of psychological distress among young Australians as part of National Mental Health Week.

Nearly one in three young Australians have reported high or very high levels of distress with their mental health, which is more than triple the amount reported in 2007.

CEO of headspace, Jason Trethowan, said the research revealed a “startling and deeply concerning” increase in the levels of psychological distress that affects 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.”

Rates of distress have been reported higher among young women. Thirty-eight per cent of cases are from people aged 18 to 21 years, compared to 20 per cent of 12 to 14.

“One of the most vulnerable times for young people to experience mental health issues is between 18 to 24 years of age,” Trethowan said.

“At this stage, young people face a unique set of life challenges: transitioning from school to study or the workforce, moving out of home and relationship break-ups, which can make it hard for them to stay in a positive state of mind.”

He added that it was important that Australia invests in more services for young people to help them build their mental health literacy from a younger age.

Victoria has the highest percentage of young people reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress with 35 per cent of cases. South Australia is sitting at 31 per cent and 29 per cent of cases are in Queensland.

Ambassador and media personality, Johnny Ruffo, said: “I have been through a few tough times in my youth, such as my parent’s divorce, health issues and relationship break-ups that all really impacted my mental health.

“It is really important to try and focus on the positives in other areas of your life, so that the negatives don’t take over,” Ruffo said. “headspace has some great tups for taking control of your mental wellbeing in both stressful times and just as part of your daily life.”

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