New data released today from headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation reveals that nearly two thirds of young Australians say that the mental health of young people is getting worse.
Up to 37 per cent of respondents stated social media is one of the leading contributors.
Expectations from school, family or community (18%) and work or study pressures (16%) were also called out.
The research was announced to coincide with headspace Day – a national event run by the foundation during National Mental Health Week that aims to support the mental health and well-being of all young Australians.
headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said there are many factors that contribute to the state of a young person’s mental health, but as things evolve, headspace needed to ensure young people were armed with knowledge and resources to build resilience to support their own well-being.
“We know mental health is complex and there are many factors that contribute to a young person’s wellbeing, but it’s clear from the research that social media is something young people have strong opinions about and it’s something that appears to be creating more pressure day to day,” he said.
“We need to raise awareness about the impacts of social media overuse, and support young people to develop the skills they need to handle these new and evolving challenges.”
Mr Trethowan said there were only so many hours in the day and if time spent online was taking away from things that offer balance and a healthy mind frame, that’s where problems could start.
“The seven tips for a healthy headspace offer practical ways to support well-being and provide young people opportunities to support themselves through challenging times,” he said.
“The tips include different ways to get into life and do the things you love, how we can eat well, get enough sleep, stay active and spend time with family, friends and people in the community.”
Social media usage – take some time out
headspace Bundaberg Centre Manager Dean Hyland said online could be a great place for social connection and was really important, particularly for young people.
“However, the more we are online, the less we are making genuine connections. We definitely need to get offline, pick up a book, get outside more. Disconnection really is the best way to reconnect,” he said.
headspace Bundaberg’s Youth Engagement Committee Chair Lauren Cuthbert agreed and said it wasimportant to build a community of support outside of social media.
“When I’m feeling down it really helps me to remove myself from online environments and practice self-care, which can be really simple, but definitely intentional,” the 19 year old said.
headspace Bundaberg encourages young people aged 12 to 25 years to get in touch if they want some support with getting through some tough times.
It is free to attend and there is no need for a doctor’s referral, you can call, email or drop into the centre to make an appointment.
For more information on ways to maintain a healthy headspace visit: https://headspace.org.au/tips