headspace Campbelltown wants Macarthur's young people to make mental health a priority

The headspace Campbelltown and Oran Park team.
The headspace Campbelltown and Oran Park team.

headspace Campbelltown and Oran Park is encouraging young people in Macarthur to take small steps to improve their mental health.

The national youth mental health foundation has revealed the serious impact 2020 is having on the wellbeing and mental health of young Australians, with new data showing rates of psychological distress remain high or very high and there's an overall decline in wellbeing.

The new headspace research has revealed that three in ten young people (31 per cent) in NSW report high or very high levels of psychological distress, which is higher among young women than young men.

headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan said the new data was worrying.

"What's highly concerning is that one third of young Aussies are already reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress, triple what they were in 2007, but we're also seeing the impacts of a really challenging year affecting their sense of general wellbeing," he said

"Young people are telling us Covid-19 has impacted their lives significantly.

"They've missed out on many of the usual social connections and school milestones this year- and this comes on top of some of the worst natural disasters our country has faced including drought, floods and the bushfire crisis.

"We've seen a drop in their ability to manage their daily activities at school, home and work and that's affecting their sense of wellbeing, their relationships and how they cope.

"We know there's a direct correlation between decline in functioning over a sustained period and bigger mental health challenges, so it's crucial we help them get on top of things now.

"It's a crucial part of managing mental health - whether its 15 seconds or 5 minutes, make it a habit and create some time and space to focus on the everyday things that make you smile or simply slow down and breathe a little easier."

headspace Campbelltown and Oran Park clinical services manager Aysun Goktepe encouraged local youngsters to reach out if they are in need of support.

"We know that young people in the Macarthur region have done it tough this year," she said.

"But we have come together as a community to take the small and large steps possible to best support our young people.

"Support for, and awareness of youth mental health in our community is really important, which is why we're really trying to get the word through headspace Day."

headspace youth advocate Jayda Khan, 20, said taking small steps for mental was more important than ever.

"A lot of my friends have been talking about how this year has taken a real toll on our motivation levels," she said.

"That's why taking small steps is such an important message - it's a reminder that taking care of our mental health can be about little moments and habits too."