NEWS THAT MATTERS
Mental health issues skyrocket
among Australia’s youth
Youth mental health issues are on the rise, with one in four young Australians contemplating ending their life over the past two years and 15 per cent attempting self-harm according to a poll by Resolve Strategic of 16 to 24 year olds.
22 March 2022
THE results of a recent poll show that over the pandemic four out of five young Australians experienced mental health issues, an extremely concerning statistic.
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch says more needs to be done to address the growing issue.
“We don’t have to look hard to see the impact mental health challenges are having on our youth. Four in five young Australians experiencing mental health issues means that you and I both know at least one person suffering their own mental health battle,” said Ms. Tesch.
“With figures this high it is mind-blowing that more is not being invested into youth mental health, which includes the need for not only later intervention measures but also preventative measures to try to combat the issues early on.”
90 per cent of Headspace centres said wait times were a major concern in the April 2019 ‘Increasing Demand in Youth Mental Health: A Rising Tide of Need’ report and given the rising demand it is clear not enough has been done to address the mental health of youth.
With six month wait times reported in September last year by the ABC and Professor Ian Hickie, founding director of Headspace who is no longer formally involved in the organisation had said in that same article “headspace is not “OK” in 2021”.
Ms. Tesch says making vulnerable youth wait for services because of a lack of investment is not an option.
“When you’re accessing Headspace and other mental health services or support services your first interaction counts. If people are having to wait to see someone in their time of crisis the difference could well and truly be someone’s life. That’s not a cost any of us want, which is why more funding into mental health is imperative,” she said.
While mental health services on the Central Coast for youth are struggling given the lack of investment and funding this Government at both the state and federal level, Ms Tesch says local organisations are stepping up in the absence of the Government.
“At the end of the day it is not only our youth suffering from this lack of investment, it is also their families who are trying to wrap their head around what to do and how they too can provide support for their children,” Ms. Tesch said.
“Our Headspace and Regional Youth Support Services are working hard to try and provide support but with the lack of funding it is becoming even more difficult.
“I know many youth groups at local churches are providing support as well as local sporting groups and schools are also doing their best. This Friday there’s also a public talk on anxiety and fear in Umina Beach by a Tibetan Buddhist Master which may be useful for both parents and youth.
“While so many local organisations and groups do their best to help youth cope with mental health challenges our government has done little to step up to the plate. It is clear more investment needs to happen.”
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