cost of living crisis impacts young people’s mental health

As cost of living pressures rise, headspace is reminding young people to pay attention to their mental health and take advantage of the work and study supports on offer at headspace.

headspace National Clinical Advisor Rupert Saunders said young people may be feeling stressed about the rising price of living expenses, including rent, petrol and groceries.

“Financial pressures can be experienced by many young people and can impact their mental wellbeing,” he said.

“Young people may feel anxious about their financial wellbeing or about how the current financial situation will impact their plans for the future.

“They may also feel upset if their family and friends are also experiencing financial difficulty.

“This latest challenge comes after two tough years for many young people, who have been impacted disproportionately by the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and natural disasters.

“Signs a young person’s mental health might need attention include feelings of low mood, tiredness and anxiety, as well as changes in their levels of engagement, sleep patterns or appetite.

“In some circumstances, young people may find it harder to cover their living expenses, or work and study requirements, so headspace encourages young people to make contact or enrol in our Work and Study program.”

headspace’s Work and Study program integrates clinical care with education and employment support for young people. headspace can help with resumes, job searches, career mentoring, education support and advice on career training options, among other things.

“It’s important that young people continue to look after their mental health and wellbeing. While you might be experiencing stress, it's important to keep eating healthily and reduce your intake of alcohol and other drugs.

“Try and stay connected with friends by finding activities you can enjoy together that don't require spending a lot of money. Going for a walk is a great option because it also incorporates exercise - another important way of maintaining mental health. Playing video games or board games, or enjoying a cup of tea at each other's homes, are some other options,” said Mr Saunders.

Young people are reminded that headspace is here to help them in tough times.

“If you are impacted by rising prices and are going through a tough time, we encourage you to seek support. headspace offers a confidential, safe space to talk through financial challenges you might be experiencing with expert employment and career advisers,” Mr Saunders said.

“headspace Work and Study provides personalised support with a specialist using either phone, web chat or video conferencing. The service aims to develop skills, capacity, and confidence of young people to help them reach their work and study goals, recognising that this will improve their health outcomes.

“We know that financial pressures can take impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people. So, in addition to work assistance and financial guidance, we also have counsellors and other support for those in need of additional services.

Work and Study support can be accessed online or by calling 1800 810 794 to enrol. Young people can also access mental health support at their local centre, or by contacting our online and phone counselling service, eheadspace (1800 650 890). eheadspace operates seven days a week between 9am – 1am (AEST).

If you’re looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 551 800) are available to talk 24/7.