KMWL Market Report

Country Kids' Mental Health of Concern

There’s been a spike in youth mental illness this year.
There’s been a spike in youth mental illness this year.There’s been a spike in youth mental illness this year.

Youth mental health charity, ReachOut has released a new report Supported, Educated and Understood, based on research from 2017 to 2021. The report tracks the mental health of young people aged 16–25 years living in regional, rural and remote (rural) areas across Australia.

The report found an increase in probable serious mental illness amongst rural young people from 20.9% to 27%.

This year's data in particular, showed out all age groups included in the research, 18–19 year olds were the group most likely impacted by ill mental health.

The report also found a significant increase in the proportion of rural young people concerned about the future, from over 15% in 2017 to over 33% in 2021.

However, the report also shows that rural young people’s mental health literacy is improving. This means that there was a greater awareness of what services are available. Not only were young people aware of the mental health services, but over 53% also indicated a willingness to access online mental health services in 2021, compared to just over 20% in 2017.

ReachOut CEO, Ashley de Silva said the report demonstrates the complexity of mental health challenges for young people living in rural areas across Australia and the need for ongoing and tailored support,

“The findings of ReachOut’s new report about the mental health of young people in rural areas are sadly not surprising. During this time, communities have faced drought, natural disasters and a global pandemic,” Ms de Silva said.

“These figures reinforce the need to focus on rural populations as a priority for mental health services. There can be many challenges associated with accessing mental health support in regional areas, which is why free, easy access to online services like ReachOut are so vital.”

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