Survey reveals young people’s resilience
The new year can sometimes mean pressure to keep new year’s resolutions, but headspace is encouraging young people to reflect on and be proud of their achievements in 2023
During a time of ongoing global conflict, a cost-of-living crisis and continued fallout from climate events, last year was a tough time for many young people, but new research released by headspace showed young people’s enormous capacity for resilience.
The headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey revealed three in five young people feel they tend to bounce back quickly after hard times (61 per cent). Asked to respond to the statement, “It does not take long to recover from a stressful event,” 52 per cent agreed or strongly agreed. Overall, more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of young people surveyed were found to have normal and high levels of resilience.
While many young people felt confident in their ability to get through tough times, the research also revealed that some did not feel as resilient compared to their peers. One-third agreed it was hard for them to snap back when something bad happens (33 per cent), and that they tend to take a long time to get over setbacks in their life (31 per cent).
Young women (39 per cent) and young people identifying as members of the LGBTQIA+ community (52 per cent) were among those most likely to report having a hard time making it through stressful events,” headspace national clinical advisor Rupert Saunders said:
“We know that 2023 has been a challenging year for many young Australians, and it’s not always easy getting back to feeling like your best self after a difficult period.
“Some young people may feel tempted to focus on things they didn’t achieve in 2023, or to compare their achievements to others. However it’s important young people give themselves credit for what they have managed to overcome.
“Everyone is on their own journey, and each young person is presented with unique challenges. Getting through the school year, working on relationships, finding work and keeping active might sound like small steps to some, but for many of us these are really important victories that ought to be celebrated.”
Mr Saunders said this sort of resilience was a skill that could be worked on.
“Helpful habits such as staying active, doing things we enjoy, connecting with our family and friends, eating well, getting enough sleep and cutting back on alcohol and other drugs are all things you can do to help be ready for, and to navigate, tough times.
“This year, we also saw young people get through tough times by channelling their discomfort into activism or community response efforts – a really purposeful and powerful contribution to their communities.”
Leaning on a support system to get through tough times can be a positive way to cope. Young people aged 12 to 25, as well as their family and friends can visit a headspace centre for support.
Support is also available via eheadspace seven days a week between 9am–1am at headspace.org.au/online-and-phone-support or by phoning 1800 650 890.
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, head to beyondblue.org.au or phone their 24/7 hotline on 1300 224 636. You can also head to lifeline.org.au or phone them on 13 11 14, and help for young people is available at kidshelpline.com.au or by phoning 1800 551 800