New headspace research

08 Oct, 2018

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation has revealed alarming new data on the levels of psychological distress amongst young Australians. The research is released on the third annual headspace day, as part of National Mental Health Week.

  • Nearly one in three (32%) young Australians (12 to 25 year olds) are reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress – more than treble the rate in 2007 (9%).
  • Rates of distress are significantly higher amongst young women (38% compared to 26% of young men).
  • 18 to 21 year olds are reporting the highest levels (38% compared to 20% of 12 to 14 year olds)Victoria has the highest percentage of young people reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress – 35% compared to 33% in WA and SA, 31% in NSW and 29% in Queensland.

Jason Trethowan, CEO of headspace says, “This new research has revealed a startling and deeply concerning increase in the levels of psychological distress currently being experienced by young people throughout Australia, affecting young people of all ages, locations and backgrounds. The figures are too high to be ignored or not be taken as serious warning that the mental wellbeing of our future generation needs to be prioritised, nurtured and safeguarded.”

One of the most vulnerable times for young people to experience mental health issues is between 18 and 24 years of age. At this stage, young people face a unique set of life challenges: transitioning from school to study or the workforce, moving out of home and relationship break-ups, which can all make it hard for them to stay in a positive state of mind. We need to continue to invest in services for our young people, and help them build their mental health literacy from a young age”, says Mr Trethowan.

7 Tips for a healthy headspace

headspace collaborated with young people throughout Australia to develop the following tips:

1. Get into life and do stuff that’s important to you
2. Learn new ways to handle tough times
3. Build close and connected relationships
4. Eat well
5. Stay active
6. Get enough sleep
7. Cut back on alcohol and other drugs

To get involved, follow headspace on social media and share your favourite tip or illustration using #headspaceday. If you, or someone you know, is going through a tough time, you can find a number of online resources and factsheets at

About the research

The new research, which analyses levels of distress on the K10 Psychological Distress Scale, is part of the headspace National Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey. The survey seeks to understand the likelihood, drivers and impacts on mental health and wellbeing of over 4,000 young people aged between 12-25 years using a rigorous population-based sampling method.

About headspace

headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. headspace has 106 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:

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