Research shows youth loneliness to be a major problem
A RESEARCH report recently released by VicHealth and Swinburne University of Technology has found that young Australians are experiencing high levels of loneliness and social isolation.
The study focused on 1,500 Victorians aged 12 to 25. More than half of these people stated that they felt lonely “sometimes” or “always”.
About 47 per cent also said they either sometimes or always felt as though they had no one to turn to.
VicHealth chief executive officer Dr Sandro Demaio said that while loneliness was not confined to any single demographic, young adults were particularly vulnerable.
“Young adults go through significant changes after finishing high school, with many starting a new job or pursuing further studies which can be stressful and challenging.
“Additionally, young people may move away from the support networks they had in their teenage years, with many having to make new friends at work or at university and many moving out of their family home.”
Dr Demaio also said the research emphasised the need for more to be done to help young people form social connections.
Director of Swinburne’s Social Health and Wellbeing Laboratory and scientific chair of the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness, Dr Michelle Lim, said that while feeling lonely was not abnormal, the rates the report revealed were alarming.
“Chronic loneliness is well-known to negatively affect our health and mental wellbeing. We found that lonely young people are at higher risk of anxiety and depression.
“These results highlighted a crucial need to find effective ways in which young people can meaningfully connect with their peers, friends, and their community.”
The survey can be viewed at vichealth.vic.gov. au/loneliness-survey.
The Torquay Library is holding an event titled Mental Health and Young People tonight (Thursday, October 10) from 6.30-7.30pm.
To register or find out more about this event, head to eventbrite.com.au and search “Mental Health and Young People Torquay”.
Arts of Minds is holding events throughout October to help raise awareness about mental health. To view these events, head to artoftheminds.org.au.