Over half of young Australians are lonely says new research

Insights from the headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey released today show more than one in two young people (54%) feel a sense of loneliness, an increase from 2018 (49%).[1]

headspace Youth Mental Health Foundation can today reveal the growing increase in the proportion of young people who feel they lack companionship and feel isolated.[1]

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan says the findings make clear young people are living through a very challenging time.

“Even with increases in online activity, young people report they lack companionship, feel left out and are missing out on experiences that define their youth – like meeting new people and travelling,” Mr Trethowan says.

“We know there’s a vicious cycle where feeling isolated can impact mental health, which in turn leads to further social withdrawal and poorer mental health.”

“We want to encourage all young people to understand how loneliness might affect them and to reach out to friends and family to let them know what they’re going through.

“We’re also encouraging families and friends of young people to check in with their young person and notice where they might need additional support, particularly as we head into school holidays.”

The research, involving 1,035 young people from around Australia, not only revealed that 54% of young people lack companionship but also that 47% of respondents felt left out and 43% felt isolated.

headspace National Clinical Advisor, Rupert Saunders says it’s important young people explore different opportunities for connection.

“We’re not only talking about sharing the company of other people. It’s also about feeling understood and supported, which are just as important for mental wellbeing.

“This can be more challenging as we go into the colder months and face the possibility of ongoing COVID restrictions. Maintaining connection while adjusting to our new normal should be a top priority for all young people.

“Finding ways to keep a daily routine with study and work, connecting with family and friends and reaching out for additional help are some of the small steps that can make a big difference.

“We know the pandemic has caused many young people to feel a sense of uncertainty about the future but the right strategies and support can be extremely effective in helping manage this.”

If you or someone you know is feeling disconnected or going through a tough time, visit headspace.org.au to access many resources, support via eheadspace, or to find your nearest centre.  

Read the headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey 2020 (Loneliness) insights paper (PDF, 2MB)


[1] headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey 2020