Youth mental health worsening, thanks to social media

New data has revealed that nearly two thirds of young Australians say their mental health is getting worst.

According to a survey from headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation, 62 percent of young Australians believe the mental health of young people is worsening.

37 percent of respondents say that social media is one of the leading contributors.


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18 percent say expectations from school, family or community also take a toll, and 16 percent called out work or study pressures.

The data coincides with ‘headspace day’, a national event run by the Foundation during National Mental Health Week.

It aims to support the mental health and wellbeing of all young Australians.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan says there are many factors that contribute the state of a young person’s mental health, but as things evolve, headspace needs to ensure young people are armed with knowledge and resources to build resilience to support their own wellbeing.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“We need to be clear about the fact that these platforms are designed in a specific way to keep young people online, and that reducing use is not always as simple as it sounds. 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.

“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.

“The seven tips for a healthy headspace offer practical ways to support wellbeing and provide young people opportunities to support themselves through challenging times.

“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,” Trethowan said.

For more information on ways to maintain a healthy headspace, click here.

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