Concerns of Youth in Australia
Australian teens and youth are facing the biggest crisis in their lives. Mental health concerns have become evident in this age group; academic and study issues, as well as stress and body image, are the issues that plague teens.
In 2017, mental health issues were the biggest concern nationally, in a youth survey conducted by Mission Australia. An increase in public discussion about mental health has helped to draw attention to the mental health of Australian teens.
Even when children haven’t yet reached their teens, they are the subject of bullying because of some unusual aspect of their looks or personality. Tykara Lang was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when she was nine years old. Because of her red hair, she stood out and suffered teasing and bullying from classmates.
Her parents took her to a child psychologist for counseling, which helped her to get through the darkest times of her depression. “To be quite honest, probably for a long time, I didn’t want to help myself,” she said.
Gaps in Mental Health System
During her teen years, Lang detected gaps in the mental health system. Today, she advocates for more mental health services for Australian youth; as an advocate, she also wants to see more help in developing the support skills of the families and friends of those suffering from mental health problems.
Mission Australia’s survey of 24,055 Australian youth says that mental health concerns are now the biggest issue for the nation. One-third of the youth surveyed pointed this out. This figure doubled from 14.9 percent in 2015.
Suggestions to Strengthen Australia’s Mental Health System
James Toomey, Mission Australia’s CEO, said that families find the current mental health system to be “bewildering.” They need to learn how to navigate the services and sources so they know where their child should go. He advocates for targeted information about basic mental health and other supports that will help families through a stressful time.
Another report finds that one out of every four Australian teens have met the criteria for suffering a potentially serious mental illness. Youth mental health services are described as “threadbare” in the most heavily populated states. Funding has declined, not increased.