shocking new data presented by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), mental health disorders in young Australians have surged over 15 years, and I am not surprised.
On Thursday, the ABS released a new study that revealed that two in five Australians have experienced a mental disorder within the previous 12 months.
“More than two in five Australians (42.9 per cent) aged 16–85 years have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime, with one in five Australians (21.5 per cent) experiencing a mental disorder in the previous 12 months,” the ABS wrote.
The survey found that anxiety was the common group of mental disorders among Australians from 2020 to 2022, which is honestly not surprising.
The head of health statistics at the ABS, Linda Fardell, added that more than one in six Australians had experienced an anxiety disorder.
“Anxiety was the most common group of mental disorders in 2020–2022. More than one in six Australians (17.2 per cent) had an anxiety disorder such as social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder in the previous 12 months,” she said.
“7.5 per cent of people had an affective disorder such as depression, while 3.3 per cent had a substance use disorder.”
In addition to its unsurprising findings, the ABS noted that around 38.8 per cent of young Aussies aged 16 to 24 years old experienced a mental health disorder in the last 12 months. According to the ABC, this is a 47 per cent surge over 15 years.
“Almost half of young females (45.5 per cent) and one-third of young males (32.4 per cent) aged 16–24 years had a mental disorder in this period, with anxiety disorders being the most common,” Fardell said.
As per ABC, this year’s figures showed an increase in the young Australian demographic, as 30.1 per cent of young women and 22.8 per cent of young men experienced a mental health condition in 2007.
Speaking to the publication, Angelo Virgona from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists claimed that Covid-19 had a ‘yuge impact on young people and their mental health.
“Isolation [has been] a major factor in the development of anxiety and depressive problems,” he said.
Perth GP Dr Andrew Leech added that he witnessed a surge in anxiety and depression since the lockdown and the cost of living crisis.
“I’m seeing a lot of difficulties around burnout and fatigue and being overstressed and overworked,” Leech said, as per ABC.
Alongside Covid-19, social media seems to have added to the impact of mental health on young Aussies.
Australia’s deputy chief medical officer for mental health Ruthy Vine said: “Those forms (social media) that include denigrating comments about self-image or repetitive, denigrating comments about individuals can be very damaging.”
Honestly, the whole report is not surprising at all — and that in itself is truly sad.
Hopefully, the government will do more to support these young Aussies, as well as the health professionals who are attempting to make a change to these growing statistics.