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Youth see stress, not depression as an issue

May 22, 2014

Youth see stress, not depression as an issue

Depression did not rank amongst the list of issues facing youth today, according to a national Colmar Brunton survey, commissioned by Youthline, released this month.

The survey of 403 people aged 16 to 24 found that 7 out of 10 of young people saidthe biggest issue facing youth today is alcohol. This was followed by issues around being accepted, bullying and self-esteem.

However, when asked about the biggest issues they face personally only one in 10 mentioned alcohol. Whereas 32per cent of the participants noted stress as an issue they had personally faced when going through a difficult time, followed by self- esteem and relationships at 28 per cent and confidence at 25 per cent.

One in two survey respondents did not believe their issue was big enough to ask for help.

Notably, they did not name depression as an issue facing young people, or a personal issue, despite the fact one in seven young people in New Zealand will experience a major depressive disorder before the age of 24.

Information about depression therefore needs to be communicated strategically to this demographic, as a young person experiencing depression may use different language for it or simply not recognise it for what it is.

Youthline is working alongside Auckland University and Lifeline in the delivery of the recently released computer-based E-therapy programme called SPARX, a tool which uses computer game technology to help young people navigate their way through depression.

Unsurprisingly, young people who identified that they were supported as needed, through a difficult time, were significantly less likely to identify as having issues with self-esteem, being accepted, peer pressure, suicide, and so on.

Youthline Auckland CEO Stephen Bell says that this survey demonstrates the importance of “being alongside” youth when stressed and being cautious not to label or pathologise normal adolescent behaviour as an illness.” “It is heartening to see Youthline is recognised as a key New Zealand Youth Support Agency, with prompted recognition at 80% and unprompted at 53%, according to the survey. Youthline is well placed as a key hub of information, advice, and community for young people, and their supporters,” Mr Bell said.

Youthline’s free helpline is available 24/7 and it’s free text service is available between 8am and midnight.

This Youth Week, watch for our Street Appeal volunteers on May 23rd and 24th, as they collect donations to support these core services which connect young people to the help they need.

The slogan for this year is “Be the Change, give your change, change lives”.

The Colmar Brunton Youthlline survey called the State of the Generation was conducted in March and the results were released this month.


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