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Multimedia News Release: youth mental health getting worse and social media could be to blame

                              EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01AM, 9 OCTOBER 2019

                             youth mental health getting worse and 
                      social media could be to blame

                                               headspace releases new research and announces actress and advocate Georgie
                                   Stone as headspace day ambassador

Wednesday 9 October, 2019 

New data released today from headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation reveals that nearly two thirds of young Australians (62%) say that the mental health of young people is getting worse , with 37 per cent of respondents saying that social media is one of the leading contributors. Expectations from school, family or community (18%) and work or study pressures (16%) were also called out.

For broadcast quality footage and high-res images, please visit the Multimedia News Release: 
http://news.medianet.com.au/media-precinct-3/youth-mental-health-getting-worse

The research was announced to coincide with headspace day – a national event run by the Foundation during National Mental Health Week that aims to support the mental health and wellbeing of all young Australians. 

headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan said there are many factors that contribute the state of a young person’s mental health, but as things evolve, headspace needs to ensure young people are armed with knowledge and resources to build resilience to support their own wellbeing. 

“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 persona are so intertwined these days so for example, if they’re being vulnerable online or sharing something personal and not getting the reaction they were hoping for, it can be really upsetting. There’s also exposure to things like cyberbullying and this ability to draw comparisons between your own life and that of your peers, perhaps making young people feel like what they’re doing isn’t stacking up. 

“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. 

“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.  

“The seven tips for a healthy headspace 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 we can eat well, get enough sleep, stay active and spend time with family, friends and people in the community.” Trethowan said. 

Actress and young Victorian of the year, Georgie Stone is proud to be working with headspace, and wants to remind other young people that there are things they can do to help if they’re going through a tough time. 

“One in four young people will experience a mental health issue. I want to tell other young people that they’re not alone, even if what you’re going through feels really isolating, there are people you can connect with and talk to, and self-care strategies you can try to help yourself through hard times. ” Georgie said. 

For more information on ways to maintain a healthy headspace visit:
https://headspace.org.au/tips

                                                             -ENDS-


For media enquiries please contact:

Sasha Fox, headspace Media Advisor: 0413 025 385 or media@headspace.org.au 

Notes to Editor:

The seven tips for a healthy headspace

Get in to life
Keeping the fun in your life and doing things you love can give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose, boost your confidence and help to connect with others. If you feel like you might be spending too much time online, some of these things, such as drawing or playing the guitar might just be for fun, but other things like work or study can give you new skills and might help to give you meaning and create balance.

Learn skills for tough times
There are a lot of different strategies that can help you to manage difficult thoughts and feelings. Things like meditation, taking a digital detox, listening to music, spending time outdoors or writing things down are just a few ways that can help you handle challenging times. 

Create connections
Feeling connected to others is an essential part of being human. Spending time with friends, family and people in your community, or joining a new club, even cutting back on social media use to allow more time to participate in activities like team sports can help you feel connected and meet new people. 

Eat well
There is a strong link between what we eat and how we feel - staying hydrated and having a healthy diet with a variety of fruit, veggies, nuts and wholegrains can actually improve mental health. 

Stay active 
Staying active can help you to sleep better, manage stress and boost your mood. Make time to take a break from study or work to do some exercise, whether it be going to the gym, kicking a ball around with a friend or just going for a walk. Whatever it is, start small, and make sure it’s something you enjoy.

Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep improves your mood, sharpens your concentration and increases resilience. Reducing things like noise, light or active thing such as video gaming – can help you improve your sleep. You might also want to consider leaving your phone outside your room and using an alarm clock to help create a calming, technology and blue light free zone, which can assist in aiding sleep. 

Cut back on alcohol and other drugs 
Curbing the amount of alcohol and other drugs you use (or avoiding alcohol and drugs altogether) will help you manage your emotions better, improve your wellbeing and ultimately help you avoid interfering with your mental health in the long run. 

headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey (national data)

•  Sixty-two per cent of young people are of the opinion that the mental health of
   Australian young people is  
 getting worse.  
•  Females are more likely to think this than males. 

•  The reasons for the opinion that mental health of young people is getting
   worse, in the opinion of young people, can be attributed to: 
  •  Social media (37%)
•  Expectations from family, school, community (18%)
•  Work or study pressure (16%)
•  Political, social, environmental issues (8%)
•  Information technology (e.g. gaming, the internet) (6%)
•  Interpersonal problems (6%)
•  Stigma around mental illness (5%)
•  Drugs and alcohol (5%) 

• One third (32%) of young people in Australia are experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress, with half dealing with these problems on their own rather than speaking to someone about them. 

Regional and metro Australia data

Regional
•  60% of young people in regional Australia are of the opinion that the mental
   health of Australian young people is getting worse.

•  33% of young people in regional Australia attribute social media to the cause
   of the supposed decline.

Metro
•  62% of young people in metro areas are of the opinion that the mental health
   of Australian young people is getting worse. 

•  39% attribute of young people in metro area attribute social media to the
   cause of the supposed decline. 

headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey (state data) 

NSW
•  59% of young people in NSW are of the opinion that the mental health of
   Australian young people is getting worse.

•  38% of young people in NSW attribute social media to the cause of the
  supposed decline.

VIC
•  63% of young people in Victoria are of the opinion that the mental health of
   Australian young people is getting worse. 

• 38% attribute of young people in Victoria attribute social media to the cause of
  the supposed decline. 

QLD
•  64% of young people in Queensland are of the opinion that the mental health
   of Australian young people is getting worse. 

•  35% attribute of young people in Queensland attribute social media to the|
   cause of the supposed decline.


SA
• 59% of young people in South Australia are of the opinion that the mental
  health of Australian young people is getting worse.
• 40% attribute of young people in South Australia attribute social media to the
  cause of the supposed decline.

WA
• 61% of young people in Western Australia are of the opinion that the mental
  health of Australian young people is getting worse.
• 38% attribute of young people in Western Australia attribute social media to the
   cause of the supposed decline.

*Note TAS, NT and ACT percentages have been removed due to small bases sizes


About headspace


headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. headspace has 110 centres across Australia in metropolitan, regional and remote areas, as well as online and phone support services through eheadspace. headspace can help young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health) alcohol and other drug services, and work and study support. Centre details, as well as factsheets and resources for young people and their families and friends, can be located on the headspace website:
headspace.org.au

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