The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought into sharp focus the issues of youth mental health and how schools, parents and the broader community can better understand and support this population cohort. IEU Victoria Tasmania Assistant Secretary Cathy Hickey takes a look at some recent research findings and recommendations dealing with youth anxiety, and points to some useful resources.
What’s happening to Australian youth?
YouthInsight, the market research arm of student advocacy service Student Edge has been undertaking regular surveys of Australian young people to monitor their understanding and sentiment towards the COVID-19 situation in Australia. Its survey in May this year of over 500 young people found that concern was starting to ease but remained high at 70 percent. In addition, 40 percent of young people are concerned about their mental health.
According to the research the top three issues causing concern for young people are the health of their family (64 per cent), their studies (61 per cent), and the economy (55 per cent). These top issues have remained consistent over the three surveys to that date.
Positively, the recent survey showed that more young people reported feeling happy than in previous YouthInsight surveys (up from 34 percent to 42 per cent). However, the majority of young people are still feeling depressed (56 per cent), anxious (57 per cent), and afraid (53 per cent) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. See table below.