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New survey shows how young people feel

By TILEAH DOBSON Young people in Australia today are dealing with copious amounts of stress. From social, physical, financial, and now a pandemic was ...

By TILEAH DOBSON

Young people in Australia today are dealing with copious amounts of stress. From social, physical, financial, and now a pandemic was thrown in, it’s no wonder most of us are anxiety-riddled messes.

New research conducted by the Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education (CYPEP) has found that youth people are experiencing more financial worries than ever before.

The 2021 Australian Youth Barometer, which had been conducted by CYPEP, surveyed over 500 Australians between the ages of 18-24. The report focused on the views of young Australians on topics such as education, employment, health and wellbeing, finances, housing, civic participation and Covid-19’s impact.

One of the biggest concerns found in the study was security for young Australians. 69 per cent of young people felt it was the government’s responsibility to ensure access to affordable housing for everyone. Their biggest concern in this area was whether or not they’d be able to afford a house in the current market.

22 per cent said they were struggling financially, with food and housing their main priorities. Young Australians with a disability were 1.7 times more likely to report financial difficulties.

Director of CYPEP, Professor Lucas Walsh, says the findings have highlighted the complex picture of what it means to be a young Australian.

“The Barometer highlights a mix of positivity and resilience amongst young people, while also showing deeper challenges related to their futures,” Professor Walsh said.

“The survey findings showed the pressures some young Australians were under and provided an insight into understanding what ‘the new normal’ might look like post-COVID and how we can collectively build thriving communities and sustainable futures for the benefit of all Australians.”

With a variety of issues and obstacles in their path, it’s a wonder why young Australians struggle under the weight. Photo: Western Sydney University/Facebook.

Although the reported buy-now-pay-later services like Afterpay have a negative impact on their finances, 53 per cent are reportedly using them on a regular basis. Social media was given mixed feelings by the participants, despite their stereotypes.

29 per cent of people, just under a third, reported having poor or very poor mental health. Chair of CYPEP Advisory Board, Katrina Reynen OAM, attributes these results to young Australians experiencing ‘unprecedented’ times and continuing to make up the new normal as they go along.

“We can all learn so much from young people who own the responsibility of ensuring that their world and policies reflect their needs,” Reynen said.

“The Youth Barometer is a brilliant way to amplify the voices of young people and is underpinned by the world-renowned research capability of Monash University. This important work has laid a baseline of youth voice which will enable future evaluations to track youth sentiment, anxiety, attitudes, hopes and dreams.”

Despite living through a pandemic and switching to online learning, the survey found 58 per cent of young people were satisfied with online learning. This hugely outweighs the 14.7 per cent that was unsatisfied with the new switch to learning.

Tileah Dobson is an editor for W’SUP and the news editor for the Sydney Sentinel.

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Why a psychologist encourages you to go on social media during COVID-19

Connecting with friends online is now more important than ever. ...

While self-isolation is vital for flattening the COVID-19 curve, the lack of social interactions can have devastating consequences on our wellbeing and mental health.

 

Social media connections. Photo: Shayma Abdellatif

The uncertainty that clouds our lives is causing stress and anxiety for almost everyone, however, Dr Harley Watson says that social media offers an antidote to relief some of this anxiety, and ensure our mental wellbeing is maintained.

“The biggest thing is to remember that you’re not alone in this. Everyone else is experiencing this too,” she says.

Dr Harley Watson is a clinical psychologist and the CEO of Open Parachute, an online school health program that raises awareness about mental health among teenagers and aims to reduce bullying in school.

Clinical psychologist and CEO of Open Parachute, Dr Harley Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media is the reality of this generation, and instead of denying that fact, Dr Watson said that we need to find ways to take advantage of what this reality offers. The key to interacting online is whether the experience is having a positive or a negative outcome on one’s wellbeing. Having a network of support, especially for young people, where they can have intimate conversations about their emotions and struggles, is now more important than ever.

“Reaching out online and staying connected to their friends and using social media to connect with them is really important for their mental health right now,” says Dr Watson.

Being online often may also mean being exposed to content that lowers self-esteem and confidence, which only adds to the problem. In order to avoid this, Dr Watson advises social media users to interact with friends in small private networks instead of sharing personal feelings and content publicly.

“When we share something with the whole world, we lose that personal feedback and personal interaction, and we open ourselves to any type of response including online bullying,” she says.

 

When asked about online challenges that appeared in the past months, Dr Watson says that if participating in those public challenges helps young people cope with this crisis, then that’s fine. Creating a sense community support and knowing that everyone is going through similar struggles is equally important. However, she says that every person needs to constantly reflect on any online interaction, and use their judgment to determine whether that’s beneficial or counter-productive.

     “Ultimately, we want the online world to connect us not separate us,” she says.

In a Snapchat survey, the majority of Snapchatters, 66 percent, said that communicating with friends and family online have helped them cope with the situation, and allowed them to still enjoy some quality time despite the COVID-19 restrictions. More than 71 percent said they have become more aware about how to stay safe, through the platform, since the beginning of the crisis.

Many social media platforms are playing an increasing role in proving information about ways to stay safe during COVID-19. In a press release, General Manager for Snap Inc. ANZ, Kathryn Carter, said that Snapchat is collaborating with local and international health experts to increase awareness about health among its users.

“Content on our Discover platform is curated and moderated, and we work closely with only a select set of partners, including some of the most trusted news organisations around the world, to develop fact-based content for our community,” says Ms Carter.

In partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Snapchat launched a series of filters and Bitmojis with information about hygiene and self-isolation, as well as links to local mental health support services.

 

If you need mental health support services, don’t hesitate to contact any of the following: