Young people urged to ditch expectations and seek help
New research released to mark headspace day on October 4 has found two in five young Australians prefer to deal with their emotional problems alone, with many motivated by fear of what others might think.
The research coincides with the launch of a new campaign starring actor Zoe Terakes that encourages young Australians to leave unrealistic expectations behind and reach out for the support they need.
The headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey interviewed 3,107 young people, and found 40 per cent of participants were likely to deal with personal or emotional problems on their own instead of speaking to someone else.
It found more than two in five young people said they would feel worse about themselves if they could not solve their mental health problems on their own (42 per cent), and among those who deal with personal or emotional problems on their own, a significant barrier to seeking help was feeling worried about what other people might think (39 per cent).
The survey also explored young people’s views on whether there is stigma around mental health and help-seeking.
Nearly six in 10 people surveyed indicated they feel that there is a stigma around mental illness in Australia (57 per cent), with more than half (52 per cent) revealing they felt there is stigma around seeking help for a mental illness.
Chief executive officer of headspace Jason Trethowan said he understood it could be confronting asking for support, but young people should know there was always a range of youth-friendly, confidential and low-cost supports available for their different needs.
“Young people today face expectations from many different directions – from their families, schools, workplaces, social media and from within themselves.
“Too many young people still feel they have to manage these expectations on their own.
“What’s essential for young people is that they take the steps they need to succeed in life.
“For young people having a tough time, it’s important they know there is support available, and that they should reach out for help.
“headspace day and the new campaign are timely reminders that headspace can support young people in a variety of ways, and for a range of concerns.
“If reaching out face-to-face feels too difficult right now, young people can explore the range of services available online.”
The headspace campaign features actor Zoe Terakes (Talk To Me, Wentworth, Nine Perfect Strangers), who encourages young people to ditch others’ expectations and focus on what’s important to them.
“headspace reminds young people they don’t have to do it all on their own, in fact, they shouldn’t. It’s so vital we reach for and depend on external support,” Terakes said.
“I’m very grateful for the work headspace is doing to help people through the pointy bits of living.”
Watch headspace’s new campaign at headspace.org.au/foryou
headpace encourages any young person, family, or friends in need of support to visit their local headspace centre. Support is also available via phone and online counselling service eheadspace seven days a week between 9am–1am on 1800 650 890.
If you’re looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24 hours a day, seven days a week.