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Youth blame social media for declining mental health

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Nearly two-thirds of young Australians believe the mental health of young people across the country is getting worse and think social media is to blame.

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Research from Headscape released on Wednesday surveyed young Australians aged 12 to 25.

Sixty-two per cent feel youth mental health is declining, with 18 per cent blaming expectations from family, school or their communities.

But nearly double that – 37 per cent of respondents – blamed social media for declining mental health.

Headscape chief executive Jason Trethowan said it was clear social media was creating more pressure for young people in their day-to-day lives.

“A young person’s real-world persona and online persona are so intertwined these days,” he said.

Trethowan said young people could be upset by not getting the reactions from sharing things online they wanted or from being cyberbullied.

“We need to be clear about the fact that these platforms are designed in a specific way to keep young people online, and that reducing use is not always as simple as it sounds,” he said.

Work or study pressure was the third-biggest problem, with eight per cent of respondents also blaming political, social and environmental issues.

Drugs and alcohol were seen as one of the smallest contributors – five per cent – to poor mental health.

The group has offered tips to help with mental health outcomes, such as spending time outdoors and getting active, eating healthily, reducing their online activity and getting more sleep.

-AAP

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