Nearly two thirds of young people report the mental health of young people is getting worse, with more than one third attributing social media as a leading cause.
New data was released for National headspace Day which puts the issue of young Australians’ mental health in the spotlight.
headspace Day on 9 October is a national event run by the National Youth Mental Health Foundation during National Mental Health Week.
“We know mental health is complex and there are many factors that contribute to a young person’s wellbeing, but it’s clear from the research that social media is something young people have strong opinions about and it’s something that appears to be creating more pressure day to day.
“A young person’s real-world persona and online personal are so intertwined these days, if they’re being vulnerable online or sharing something personal and not getting the reaction they were hoping for, it can be really upsetting,” headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said.
Exposure to things like cyberbullying and drawing comparisons between your own life and that of your peers affected young people, he said.
“We need to be clear about the fact that these platforms are designed in a specific way to keep young people online, and that reducing use is not always as simple as it sounds.
“We need to raise awareness about the impacts of social media overuse, and support young people to develop the skills they need to handle these new and evolving challenges.”
The research found expectations from school, family or community (18%) and work or study pressures (16%) were also contributing factors to worsening mental health of young people.
Young Australians are being encouraged to celebrate headspace day by attending events across the country, by talking and sharing ideas with family and friends, and by learning tips to help build and maintain a healthy headspace.
headspace National suggests seven tips for a healthy headspace which offer practical ways to support wellbeing and provide young people opportunities to support themselves through challenging times.
The tips include different ways to get into life and do the things you love, how to eat well, get enough sleep, stay active, and spend time with family, friends and people in the community.
“There are only so many hours in the day and if time spent online is taking away from things that offer balance and a healthy mind frame, that’s where we run into problems,” Mr Trethowan said.
For more information on ways to maintain a healthy headspace, visit: