Mental Health Crisis Among Under 35s

Telehealth doctor warns the country is heading for a mental health crisis amongst younger Aussies.

Bushfires, floods, a pandemic - what more can our young people take?

Medical Director of award-winning telehealth service InstaScripts, Dr Andrew Thompson warned that Australians aged between 18 to 35 were overrepresented in consultations and prescriptions for depression and anxiety over the last two years.

With numbers growing we’re headed toward a mental health crisis, according to recent data from patient analysis from January to the end of May this year.

He said the data raised serious concerns for young Australians and pointed to a dire need for awareness and expansion of services that addressed mental health problems.

In fact, more than half (59 per cent) of consultations for depression and anxiety were aged between 18 and 35.

Dr Thompson said he anticipated that figure to rise by the end of the year to exceed last year’s 65 per cent.

“The silver lining in our data is that while it is devastating that more young Australians are experiencing mental health symptoms, it shows that more are reaching out to services such as ours for advice and help,” he said.

“It also points to a need for the availability of more services that offer tools and strategies to help our younger generations better manage their mental health.

“No doubt, the last two years has taken an enormous toll on the mental health of our population.

“However, it is important for Australians to understand that the impact could worsen, linger for years or progress to other related health issues if not addressed and managed effectively and appropriately.”

Four ways Dr Thompson suggests young Aussies can address mental health issues:

  • Be aware of the symptoms that can point to a deeper issue. Most of us recognise ongoing feelings of sadness and stress as symptoms of anxiety and depression, but there are more obscure indicators to be aware of, including confused thinking, major changes in eating habits, excessive guilt or anger and trouble understanding social cues. Due to the strong connection between mind and body, physical indicators include unexplained ongoing stomach pain, back pain, headaches or other aches and pains.
  • Consider the support services available - Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) provide free services to Aussies needing immediate support. Speak to a GP or consult a telehealth service.
  • Tap into your support network. It is important to lean on family and friends for support because anxiety and depression can cause you to feel withdrawn and isolated.
  • Understand strategies to help cope with and reduce anxiety and stress. For example, regular exercise releases endorphins in the brain, boosting mood, self-esteem, deeper sleep and concentration; completely avoiding alcohol. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism.

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