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Youth mental health in spotlight

Tuesday, 6th August, 2019

Young people are being encouraged to fill out Mission Australia’s Youth Survey. Young people are being encouraged to fill out Mission Australia’s Youth Survey.

By Emily McInerney

With concern growing about mental health in young people, Mission Australia is  urging local 15 to 19- year-olds to speak up by by participating in this year’s Youth Survey.

Just under half of young people in Broken Hill identified mental health as the top issue facing Australia in the last survey, according to a Mission Australia.

This was followed by alcohol and drugs (32.2 per cent) and bullying (17.8 per cent), while the top three “personal concerns” for Broken Hill’s young people were coping with stress, body image and school or study problems (42.3 per cent, 32.9 per cent and 29.7 per cent).

“The youth survey is an annual temperature check to find what young people across the country are thinking, feeling and experiencing,” said Gina Dellar, Mission Australia Program Manager.

“Conducting the survey each year means that we can look at how these thoughts, feelings and experiences change over time.” 

While issues vary, mental health concerns are continuing to grow.

“While mental health has consistently been identified as an issue of national concern for a number of years, it has only been one of the top three issues for the past three years,” said Ms Dellar. 

“Across the country, concerns about mental health have doubled since 2016 and tripled since 2012, and for the first time in 2018, young people identified mental health as the top issue facing Australia in every State and Territory.”

Ms Dellar said it was important to prioritise the concerns of young people.

“We are looking forward to seeing what the results of the 2019 Youth Survey tell us about what’s happening in the lives of young people today. 

“This year, Mission Australia is asking some new focus questions to better understand young people’s thoughts around bullying, disability and whether they feel they have enough of a say about the issues that affect them.” 

The more young people who get involved and add their voice, the more inclusive, insightful and representative of the broader youth community the results will be, Ms Dellar said. 

“The Youth Survey gives organisations like Mission Australia current evidence so that we can advocate on behalf of young people for the policy changes and programs that they need, and that are proven to work. 

“We hope to see even more schools and groups in Broken Hill join in and participate before it closes in early August.”

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