Mental health the primary concern for young Tasmanians, Mission Australia Youth Survey 2017 finds

Young Tasmanians are most concerned about managing stress and mental health, but also feel confident about achieving their study or work goals, the latest Mission Australia Youth Survey has found.

The annual national survey, released on Wednesday, shows Tasmania’s youth aged 15-19 are most personally concerned with mental health issues such as managing stress, depression and body image.

Eighteen and a half per cent of young Tasmanians reported they were “extremely concerned” and 23.4 per cent “very concerned” about stress as they sought to achieve work or study goals.

Data: Mission Australia

Data: Mission Australia

Mission Australia state director Noel Mundy said it was the first time young Tasmanians had named mental health as the number one issue.

He said it was “very encouraging” to see young people speaking out about mental health issues to such a degree.

Mr Mundy said there needed to be a greater focus on a coordinated response to mental health support, including upskilling family and friends to be comfortable having conversations about mental health.

“To give young people the best opportunity for their future, we need to ensure they have access to education and training, secure housing and support services, regardless of where they live or their family income,” he said.

The survey found nearly half of Tasmania’s young people see academic ability, financial difficulty, mental health and admission or job requirements as barriers to study or work after school.

Data: Mission Australia

Data: Mission Australia

Nationally 11.9 per cent of regional youth named location as a hindrance to their goals, while just 5 per cent of city-based youth reported the same.

However, four in 10 Tasmanian respondents said they felt “extremely confident” or “very confident” about achieving their study or work goals after school with just 2.6 per cent “not at all confident”.

“We need to listen to these young people,” Mr Mundy said. “We’re really pleased so many young people generously give us this feedback.”