A QUARTER of young people aged 16 to 24 are living with depression, says beyondblue deputy chairperson Natasha Stott-Despoja.
Speaking at the University of Ballarat Blue Ball on Saturday night, the former Australian Democrats leader said most young people did not seek help for anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.
“Looking at the statistics, more than three-quarters of young people do not get help,” Ms Stott-Despoja said.
By addressing staff and students at Saturday’s UB Blue Ball, the former senator hoped university students and other young people would not be stigmatised about seeking help for a mental illness. She also offered tips to young people about handling pressure.
“While there are very valid concerns that social media and bullying plays a big part in depression, young people need to realise there is online help for anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness,” Ms Stott-Despoja said.
“Young people are more likely to access help via the internet, due to a combination of time, embarrassment and familiarity with online services.”
Ms Stott-Despoja said leading organisations such as beyondblue were hoping to dispel the stigma around mental illness.
“Unfortunately within the community, there is still stigma attached to depression and anxiety, particularly about seeking help. But beyondblue is helping to reduce that stigma and hopefully one day will get rid of that stigma all together,” she said.
“Men, particularly, are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, but don’t want to admit that something is troubling them. Women are more likely to have a mental illness, but are also more likely to seek help.
“By raising the awareness about mental health issues, more people will feel comfortable about seeking the help they need. The more people who know about depression and anxiety, the more people will actually seek help.”
Anyone who needs help with mental illness can call beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 24 hours a day, seven days a week or chat online at beyondblue.org.au