Mental Health of Young Rural Aussies of Concern


Have you heard about the ReachOut, an online mental health organisation for young people and their parents in Australia? ReachOut has been in existence since 2001 and is accessed by more than 2 million people in Australia each year. ReachOut is a free service that’s available anytime and pretty much anywhere.

ReachOut has released a new report called “Supported, Educated and Understood”, which took place over a five-year period, from 2017-2021. The report tracked the mental health of young people aged 16 – 25 years living in regional, rural and remote (rural) areas across Australia.

The report found an increase in probable serious mental illness amongst rural young people from 20.9 per cent to 27 per cent. The data from 2021, in particular, showed that of all age groups included in the research, 18–19 year olds were the group most likely impacted by mental ill health. The report also found a significant increase in the proportion of rural young people concerned about the future, from over 15 per cent in 2017 to over 33 per cent in 2021.

However, the report also shows that rural young people’s mental health literacy is improving. This means that there was a greater awareness of what services are available. Not only were young people aware of the mental health services, but over 53 per cent also indicated a willingness to access online mental health services in 2021, compared to just over 20 per cent in 2017.

Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut, said that the report demonstrates the complexity of mental health challenges for young people living in rural areas across Australia and the need for ongoing and tailored support.

“The findings of ReachOut’s new report about the mental health of young people in rural areas are sadly not surprising. During this time, communities have faced drought, natural disasters and a global pandemic.

“These figures reinforce the need to focus on rural populations as a priority for mental health services. There can be many challenges associated with accessing mental health support in regional areas, which is why free, easy access to online services like ReachOut are so vital, ” Ms de Silva said.

For more information about ReachOut and to access support, visit: About ReachOut Australia

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