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In 2017, for the first time in the survey’s history young people identified mental health as the most important issue in Australia today. Concerns about mental health have doubled since 2015 and tripled since 2011. Other top issues of national concern included alcohol and drugs and equity and discrimination.

Young people continue to nominate coping with stress, school or study problems and body image as their top three issues of personal concern. This has remained consistent over the past 5 years.

Many of the personal concerns reported by young people relate to their own mental health, including coping with stress, body image and depression, and mental health was also identified by many young people as a possible barrier to achieving their work or study goals after school. This reinforces that much more needs to be done to ensure that young people can access the right mental health supports when they need them.

More than half of young people saw barriers to achieving their post-school goals with the most common barriers being academic ability, financial difficulty and mental health. For young people living in regional areas, where you live was also identified as a common barrier.

We need to ensure they have access to education and training, secure housing and support services, regardless of where they live or their family income, so all young people have the best opportunities for their future.

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