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Mental health issues driving unemployment among young Aussies

depression anxiety stress mental health

A jump in mental health conditions among the country’s 18-24 year-olds has led to a big rise in the number of young Australians looking for work.

New figures released by Roy Morgan Research have revealed the number of 18-24 year-olds looking for work almost doubled from 2010 (9.5 per cent) to the end of 2014 (18.9 per cent), numbers tied in with the proportion of young Aussies reporting mental health-related issues.

18-24 year-olds were found to be the age group most affected by anxiety, with 23 per cent now reporting the condition in an average 12 months – a substantial jump from the 11.2 per cent registered just five years ago. To put it in perspective, the national anxiety-reporting average stands at 16.6 per cent.

The number of young Australians affected by stress grew to 33.7 per cent from 24.0 per cent in the last five years, while the number reporting depression jumped to 19.4 per cent from 11.3 per cent.

“The rise of youth unemployment in Australia is a huge source of concern, and the Federal Government needs to address it before it gets any more widespread,” Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director Angela Smith said.

“At this critical stage of a young person’s life and career, the failure to find a job can have serious implications on their self-esteem and general mental health. It is no coincidence that stress, anxiety, depression and even panic attacks have sky-rocketed in incidence over the past five years among 18-24 year olds as unemployment rises.”

The overall numbers are not good. 41.2 per cent of young Australians sitting in the 18-24 age bracket said they were affected by stress last year, while 28 per cent reported anxiety and 24.7 per cent said they had experienced depression.

Ms Smith said it is clear that young Australians are being the hardest hit when it comes to mental health conditions.

“While 14.5 per cent of the population were affected by depression last year, this shot up to one quarter of young job-seekers. Not only is this sad, it puts more pressure on our already stretched healthcare system.”

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2010 –December 2014 (n=24,420).

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2010 –December 2014 (n=24,420).