Young Australians are stressed more than ever before, with one in three reporting high levels of extreme anguish, sorrow or pain.
Youth in the formative years, aged between 18 and 21, are most at risk, but tweens in the 12 to 14 age brackets are also reporting, with females more likely to experience distress.
A national report by Headspace released during National Mental Health Week found psychological distress in 12 to 25 year olds had tripled in the past decade.
The report comes as Tasmania lacks psychiatric wards to help its mentally-ill youth, with claims that its Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are under-resourced and in crisis.
Headspace Launceston manager Wayne Frost said the numbers of young people fronting up to its Northern office had risen.
“We are seeing three or four times as many young people now as when we first started,” Mr Frost said.
“The issues for young people in Launceston aren’t new ones but it is a reminder that this time of life can be quite turbulent – a time where figuring out what to do after education is really difficult, because the employment situation isn’t that bright.”
He said future education or job decisions, unemployment, moving out of home, peer and family relationships, sexuality, and drug and alcohol abuse were all stressors confronted by youth in the North.
But he said while the stress levels were going up, it could also be a reflection on the greater levels of awareness about mental health.
“Hopefully it is partly about young people feeling more empowered, more confident, and having more health literacy, insight and awareness that seeing someone and talking to someone is an effective way to deal with it.”
Headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan warns that the national figures should not be ignored.
“The mental wellbeing of our future generation needs to be prioritised, nurtured and safeguarded,” Mr Trethowan said.
“We need to continue to invest in services for our young people, and help them build their mental health literacy from a young age.”
Headspace reminds young people that a healthy mind is influenced by eating well, getting enough sleep, staying active, maintaining friendships, and cutting back on alcohol and drugs.
Mr Frost encouraged young people and their families to contact Headspace for assistance: 6335 3100