New research showing the majority of university and TAFE students in Australia are stressed and depressed explains why headspace Dubbo has a “strong presence” on tertiary education campuses in the city.
The National Youth Mental Health Foundation, known as headspace, and the National Union of Students (NUS) have released the findings of a nationwide survey of 2600 students in 70 universities and TAFE institutions this National Youth Week.
The annual NUS survey has for the first time focused on the mental health of tertiary students, aged 17 to 25.
It reveals that 83.2 per cent of respondents feel stressed, 79 per cent feel anxious, 35.4 per cent have thoughts of self-harm and suicide, 59.2 per cent have feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, and 82.1 per cent lack energy and motivation.
Their mental health is reported to be affected by the likes of workloads, looming deadlines, relationship problems, financial and domestic difficulties, and drugs and alcohol.
Youth access and awareness officer at headspace Dubbo, Nic Steepe, said the survey highlighted the range of “complex issues that tertiary students may face”.
He said headspace Dubbo had a strong connection with Charles Sturt University and the TAFE NSW campuses in Dubbo “for this reason”.
“We ensure a strong presence on campuses and at events to ensure that students know we are here to help and assist them with whatever difficulties they may face,” Mr Steepe said.
Chief executive officer of headspace Jason Trethowan said the survey results were “alarming but not surprising”.
“Like all big life transitions, after finishing year 12 people can be more vulnerable,” he said.
“They are an at-risk group with no clear check-in point for mental health difficulties.”
Mr Trethowan said mental health services on tertiary campuses were not uniform. “Young people need to know that headspace is here to help,” he said. “We have 99 centres across Australia, as well as the online and over-the-phone counselling service, eheadspace.”
In the future headspace will provide “vital help seeking and information about access to services” to the NUS to share with its members.
Mr Steepe has encouraged students to call headspace Dubbo on 5852 1900 or visit its centre at 23 Church Street.