Espresso Martinis and Impact
News  |  Social AffairsYouth

Young Australians witnessing a decline in mental health

Wednesday, 9th October 2019 at 2:35 pm
Luke Michael
Nearly two thirds of young Australians believe the mental health of young people is getting worse, according to new research.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019
at 2:35 pm
Luke Michael



Young Australians witnessing a decline in mental health
Wednesday, 9th October 2019 at 2:35 pm

Nearly two thirds of young Australians believe the mental health of young people is getting worse, according to new research.

Data published by headspace on Wednesday found 62 per cent of young Australians believed the mental health of young people was in decline, with 37 per cent nominating social media as a major reason for this.

Released to coincide with headspace day, the research also found that one third (32 per cent) of young people in Australia were experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress.

This follows research from Mission Australia in 2018 that found the number of young people believing mental health was the top issue facing Australia today had almost tripled in three years.

Jason Trethowan, the CEO of headspace, said while there were many factors contributing to the state of a young person’s mental health, it was clear social media was placing greater pressure on people.

“A young person’s real-world persona and online persona are so intertwined these days so for example, if they’re being vulnerable online or sharing something personal and not getting the reaction they were hoping for, it can be really upsetting,” Trethowan said.

“There’s also exposure to things like cyberbullying and this ability to draw comparisons between your own life and that of your peers, perhaps making young people feel like what they’re doing isn’t stacking up.”

Trethowan said these platforms were designed to keep young people online, which made it important to educate Australians on the dangers of social media overuse.

“There are only so many hours in the day and if time spent online is taking away from things that offer balance and a healthy mind frame, that’s where we run into problems,” he said.

After social media, expectations from family, school, and community (18 per cent), work or study pressure (16 per cent), and political, social, and environmental issues (8 per cent) were identified as the main reasons for the decline in mental health. 

On Wednesday, headspace also announced actress and transgender activist, Georgie Stone, as an ambassador for the charity.

Stone said she was proud to be working with headspace, and wanted to remind other young people that help was available when things got tough.

“One in four young people will experience a mental health issue,” Stone said.

“I want to tell other young people that they’re not alone, even if what you’re going through feels really isolating, there are people you can connect with and talk to, and self-care strategies you can try to help yourself through hard times.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with mental health, please contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or headspace on 1800 650 890.

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at

Get more stories like this


Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


People experiencing homelessness struggling to navigate the NDIS

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 16th October 2019 at 4:13 pm

The public health issue that’s staring us in the face but being ignored

Tim Costello

Tuesday, 15th October 2019 at 8:17 am

Overcoming the hidden cost of mental health stigma: What employers need to know

Bryan McCormick

Thursday, 10th October 2019 at 7:00 am

Is shared value the key to solving Australia’s mental health crisis?

Maggie Coggan

Tuesday, 8th October 2019 at 8:23 am


Australia is bracing for a tsunami of homeless women

Jan Berriman

Thursday, 10th October 2019 at 7:30 am

NDIS struggling to accommodate people with psychosocial disability

Luke Michael

Monday, 7th October 2019 at 3:48 pm

Espresso Martinis and Impact
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!