Mental health the most important issue for Australia's young people

27 May 2020

For the third year in a row mental health has topped the list of issues identified as important by young people in the annual Mission Australia Youth Survey.

Labor sees this important survey, as well as the Productivity Commission report on mental health, as an urgent call for the Government to address and reform policy. Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health, Ms Emma McBride MP, said mental health was identified as the most important issue by the 25,126 young people (aged 15 to 19) who participated in the survey.

“Respondents said their top three personal concerns were coping with stress (45%), school or study problems (34%) and mental health (33%),” Ms McBride said.

“Mental health was also identified as one of the top three barriers to achieving post-school goals.

“Two-thirds of young people rated mental health as extremely important or very important.

“It is particularly concerning that significantly more young women than men, and even more young Aboriginal women, were extremely or very concerned about coping with stress, body image, school or study problems and mental health.

“The survey asked young people about bullying for the first time and 21 per cent reported they had been bullied in the past 12 months,” she said.

“Mission Australia’s conclusions reinforce those made by the Productivity Commission Draft report on Mental Health – that there must be a focus on prevention , early identification and early intervention.”

As the Productivity Commission report found, 75 per cent of those who develop mental illness, first experience mental-ill health before the age of 25 years.

“Young people are telling us that mental health is the nation’s number one issue and the government must act.”

 “Though the final report is due in May, it is critical this Government takes this report and the Productivity Commission draft report seriously and consider recommendations for reform of prevention, earlier interventions, fixing gaps in health care and acute care.

“If Greg Hunt takes serious action, Labor will continue to work with the Government and offer a bipartisan support to efforts to improve the mental health and well-being of young people,” she said.