This report reveals that young people who said COVID-19 was their biggest issue in 2020 were most concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their education, experience of isolation and mental health. The young people hardest hit by these issues were those living in Victoria, and 17-year-olds were most likely to say their education was severely impacted by COVID-19.
Young Victorians were more likely to report COVID-19 was the biggest issue they had been facing than their peers in other States and Territories. Additionally, young people in Victoria were more likely to be concerned about COVID-19 affecting their education, isolation and mental health than young people residing in other States and Territories.
Nationally, four in 10 (41.1%) respondents who said COVID-19 affected their education were 17 years old, indicating those in their senior years of school were severely impacted by the pandemic. More than one third (34.4%) of respondents who reported COVID-19 and education was their top personal concern were living in Victoria.
Almost half (43.9%) of the young people who revealed personal concerns in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on being and feeling isolated were living in Victoria. Nationally, more than two thirds of those reporting mental health concerns due to COVID-19 were young females (68.9% of females compared with 23.9% of males).
In response to the findings, Mission Australia says there were a range of solutions put forward by young people that should be implemented, including:
- Support for young people to understand when and how to help themselves when feeling overwhelmed and stressed with study, when feeling isolated and when experiencing poor mental wellbeing.
- Extra support for young people in schools to support their wellbeing and in completing final years of school during COVID-19 restrictions to make sure they can achieve their educational goals.
- Mental health prevention and early intervention supports delivered in flexible formats to address wellbeing issues that may arise during isolation periods.
- More services and resources to support the mental wellbeing of young people, including through schools and outreach programs.