A survey into the effects of COVID-19 on young Australians’ mental health has found a profound sense of loneliness and isolation among young adults.
The national Medibank survey of more than 1,500 people conducted in March this year found almost two in three young people felt unmotivated and demotivated in the last 12 months.
The survey shows one in two young adults aged 16 to 24 year-olds felt depressed or down in the past year.
Department of Communities youth service coordinator Kate McInnes says the pandemic has created a sense of hopelessness among youth.
“In terms of anxiety and depression in relation to the pandemic, this sense of freedom and future goals to travel and socialise have been ripped from many young adults, creating a widespread feeling of hopelessness.
“Having lockdowns at schools and universities really creates a sense of isolation among youth, especially people who come from troubled homes, amplifying potential mental health issues,” she says.
Lara Godderis, 21, from Perth, says such feelings of isolation have been amplified due to physical separation from her family.
“My dad and my brother moved to Belgium before the pandemic, and my mum moved back to Indonesia, so I haven’t seen my family for over two years. This has heavily impacted my mental health as I have really felt the isolation and have been longing to see my family again,” she says.
“The physical separation really affected my mental health as I felt like there was going to be no end and I felt extremely alone.”
Curtin University student Claire Wellington echoed these feelings.
“I find it quite insane at the moment, I find that a lot of my friends are too scared to come to uni at the moment and have changed to online instead. I then feel isolated, and feel like it’s a really hard time to make news friends and meet new people,” she says.
Another Curtin student Kai Lyons, 20, says COVID-19 has had a profound effect on his motivation.
“I struggled. I couldn’t get the motivation to do anything, it was a real personal struggle having not dealt with any mental health issues beforehand,” he says.
He says accessing support was especially difficult in recent times.
“I have a lot of friends that struggle with mental health problems and COVID really didn’t help, and trying to find support was very difficult during the pandemic,” he said.
Mental health services:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
- Headspace: 1800 650 890
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
- Q-life: 1800 184 527