Today is World Mental Health Day and given the fact that one-third of young Australians have experienced poor mental health in the last year, it’s pretty fkn vital that we stop and have a think about where we’re at.
Per ABC News, the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that close to 40 per cent of Aussies aged between 16 and 24 experienced a mental health disorder in the past 12 months. This is up from 26 per cent in 2007.
Young women appear to be particularly affected, with nearly half (45.5 per cent) experiencing a mental health condition in the last year, compared to one-third (32.4 per cent) of young men.
According to the study — which was carried out between 2020 and 2022 — the most common condition affecting young people is anxiety disorders, experienced by two in five young women, and one in four young men.
Dr Angelo Virgona, from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, told ABC News that COVID-19 was a major trigger for young people. And sir, you don’t have to tell me.
“Isolation [has been] a major factor in the development of anxiety and depressive problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer for mental health, Ruth Vine, told the outlet that social media also played a role.
“Those forms [of social media] that include denigrating comments about self-image or repetitive, denigrating comments about individuals can be very damaging,” she said.
Overall, the study of 16,000 Australians revealed that more than a fifth of people aged 16 to 85 have experienced a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months.
Dr Virgona further attributed uncertainties about the economy, climate and life in general to declining mental health.
Workplace bullying is also negatively affecting Australians’ mental wellbeing, per a recent study conducted by the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU).
The survey of over 1,600 workers from multiple industries uncovered that 50 per cent of them had experienced being bullied, harassed or exposed to conflict or inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
30 per cent of AWU members reported sustaining a mental health injury — including anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorders — at work in the last year.
Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary Paul Farrow said the survey results are concerning.
“To see in black and white one in two Australian workers have experienced being bullied, harassed or exposed to conflict or inappropriate behaviour in their workplace is disturbing,” he expressed.
And yep, “disturbing” is right. Here’s hoping these stats put pressure on the government to support struggling Australians and the mental health professionals working their hardest to quash these growing numbers.
In the meantime, please check on your mates. We’re all doing it tough so it’s important that we look out for one another.