Mental health the top concern for young West Australians in 2018

Stock image.
Stock image.

MENTAL health is the top concern for West Australian young people in 2018, according to a Mission Australia survey.

The organisation released the results of their latest Youth Survey today, with over 3000 local teenagers between 15 and 19 and 28,000 nation-wide taking part.

Speaking at YouthBeat, Mission Australia’s Northbridge-based facility to support youth on the streets, area manager Suzanne Caren said the survey confirmed what her team regularly saw with young people.

“Mental health is a prevalent issue; it was traditionally quite taboo, but there’s a lot going on across the sector to bring it to the fore,” she said.

“The stigma is being taken away and young people are reporting how they’re travelling.”

WA’s young people also reported alcohol and drugs as a bigger issue than the national average, with 36 per cent labelling it a top issue.

One 15-year-old respondent asked for more rehabilitation centres, readily-available information and for depression and other mental health concerns to be addressed to prevent drug use.

“We want to see investment in evidence-based mental health programs that support young people,” Ms Caren said.

Mission Australia state director Jo Sadler said governments and organisations also needed to expand programs to re-engage young people with education, increase Youth Allowance and rent assistance payments while boosting affordable accommodation for young people, and expand online and face-to-face services for young people and their support networks.

“This sample size isn’t representative of all young people, but it’s a good size to make recommendations,” she said.

“The important issues were consistent across each jurisdiction for the first time in the history of the survey.”