Alarming number of youth feel the pain

Zoe KeenanSouth Western Times
The biggest factor contributing to youth mental health problems is social media.
Camera IconThe biggest factor contributing to youth mental health problems is social media.

More than half of young people in Bunbury are struggling with mental health problems, according to the local Headspace team.

Data released by Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation last week revealed that nearly two thirds of young Australians, or 62 per cent, believe youth mental health is getting worse.

In regional WA those statistics did not waver, with 60 per cent of young people believing youth mental health was becoming worse.

Headspace Bunbury clinical coordinator Maureen Jubb-Shanley said the national figures reflected what they were experiencing in Bunbury.

“The survey reinforces what we have been observing here in the South West,” Ms Jubb-Shanley said. “We are working hard to meet these growing and sometimes changing needs of our young people.

“The issues are complex – many get support from our Headspace Bunbury services because of things they experience in the workplace or at school.

“Others experience a deterioration in their mental health because of community and family expectations, drugs and alcohol, personal relationships, and social media pressures.”

On top of the list to blame for the high number of youth experiencing poor mental health was social media.

The data revealed 33 per cent of young people in regional WA said social media was the cause of the decline in mental health.

Nationally, 18 per cent believed expectations from school, family or community were to blame and 16 per cent said work or study pressures were causing these problems.

Headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan said there were many factors contributing to young people’s mental health but said social media was a common factor.

“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,” he said.

“We need to raise awareness about the impacts 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.”

Headspace’s seven tips to a healthier lifestyle includes getting into life and doing things you love, learning meditation or skills to get through tough times, building relationships, eating well, being active, getting enough sleep and cutting back on alcohol and drugs.

If you, or someone you know, is going through a tough time, you can contact headspace Bunbury on 6164 0680.

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