Mission Australia has released its 2021 Youth Survey, revealing that happiness and feelings of positivity for the future have dropped significantly in young people since 2012, and well, duh. 

20,207 people aged 15 to 19 were surveyed between April and August this year and while 70 per cent of people in that age bracket felt positive or very positive about the future in 2012, just 51 per cent do in 2021.

Young people are also 25 per cent less happy than they were in 2012. 

COVID-19 was reported as the greatest issue for teenagers this year, according to 45 per cent of respondents. 

Young people said COVID and lockdowns had negatively impacted their ability to participate in activities (68 per cent), their education (62 per cent) and mental health (50 per cent). COVID also impacted young women and gender diverse young people more than cisgender young men. 

The climate crisis, equity and discrimination, mental health, and education and job options were also weighing more on young people this year than previously.

After COVID, 38 per cent of young people said the climate crisis was a key national issue — more than doubling since 2012 when only 18 per cent of us thought it was a big deal.

Equity and discrimination has also negatively impacted people way more this year, increasing by almost 10 per cent since 2020.

“Gender and racial discrimination very much exist in our country in the eyes and through the experiences of young people, and our Youth Survey tells us that young people in Australia want it brought out of the shadows and into the light,” Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said.

This year was a massive spanner in the works for job prospects for young gender diverse people more than anyone, with 70 per cent compared with 46 per cent of all respondents saying they felt there were barriers to achieving their study or work goals.

Gender diverse young people also reported more mental health concerns, discrimination, lack of family or school support.

More than 75 per cent of mental health issues occur before the age of 25, and young LGBTQIA+ people experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts.

Young people’s exercise, screen and sleep habits also are nowhere near what we’re being told they should be. About 67 per cent get less than seven hours of exercise a week; 77 per cent are on their phones for more than five hours daily and 35 per cent  for more than nine hours.

Honestly same. I feel so seen.