YOUNG people from Port Stephens and the Myall Coast are not alone when it comes to their concerns about the world.
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Mission Australia’s new Youth Survey Report 2020 has revealed that young people from NSW aged between 15 to 19 have significant concerns relating to equity and discrimination, COVID-19, the environment and mental health.
With 25,800 young people surveyed across the nation for the 19th annual Youth Survey, including 6,639 young people from New South Wales, the report provides evidence of young people’s highest concerns.
NSW youth indicated Equity and Discrimination, COVID-19, the environment and mental health as the most important issues in Australia today.
Nearly three in 10 young people from NSW reported they had been treated unfairly in the past year, most commonly due to gender.
Other reasons for unfair treatment were race/cultural background and mental health.
Mission Australia’s State Director Nada Nasser said, “This year, we’re hearing very strongly that our young people see discrimination as a major issue in Australia, and are very concerned about unfair treatment, with gender inequality being at the forefront of their concerns.
“The message is that young females and young males are concerned about gender inequality in Australia – and we mustn’t explain away or dismiss young people’s concerns as gender politics.
Nasser believes that the day-to-day experiences of youth alongside escalating media coverage, public dialogue and grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter are likely influencers.
She is calling for national leadership on issues of equity and discrimination,
The challenges of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic have greatly impacted the wellbeing of young people.
Significantly, close to half of young people in NSW felt stressed either all of the time or most of the time.
Mental health also was highlighted as an important issue.
In NSW, more than four in 10 young people are extremely or very concerned about coping with stress and over one third of NSW respondents are extremely or very concerned about mental health.
“Young people deserve every opportunity to not just survive, but to thrive and be heard.
“Ultimately, how we look after our young people now, will determine our country’s collective wellbeing in the future,” said Nasser.
Port Stephens has a dedicated youth mental health service called Jupiter which offers free counselling.
By Marian SAMPSON