YOUNG Victorians are experiencing the highest rates of psychological distress in the nation, alarming new data shows.
Distress rates among Australian youth has tripled in the past decade with young women reporting pain far more than young men.
headspace chief executive officer Jason Trethowan, who hails from Ballarat, said his hometown headspace and headspace Wimmera had set high standards in proactive campaigns and support for young people, aged 12-25.
But work being done in Ballarat also reinforced the need for more work nationally to help young Australians.
He said while it was important to understand the gravity of the situation, it was vital for the nation’s youth mental health body to take the right action in addressing this.
“The reality is Australia has strong framework for safe and accessible services for young people but we need to make sure they are well-utilised,” Mr Trethowan said.
“What we want is to avoid young people having to wait long times for mental health care. What we want is to avoid long waits for young people presenting to the emergency department. And we need to make sure our online services are accessible and staffed for peak periods, like in the evening.”
Almost 40 per cent of those aged 18 to 21 are reporting high or very high psychological distress, according to the headspace report which was released on Monday as part of national mental health week.
Mr Trethowan said this was a cohort in a transitional life phase with many leaving home, heading to university or the workforce, feeling exam stress and experiencing great personal and relationship challenges. He said undoubtedly, this was felt more acutely in regional and rural towns where there was less access to support.
headspace is encouraging young Australians to set good mental health habits.
Top tips include:
- Get into life - find your passion
- Learn new ways to handle tough times – feed your mind
- Close and connected relationships – swap snaps for chats
- Eat well
- Stay active
- Get enough sleep
- Cut back on alcohol and other drugs
If you, or someone you know, is going through a tough time contact headspace Ballarat on 5304 4777 or eheadspace.org.au. Lifeline: 13 11 14.
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