Depression In Young People – The Facts And The Signs

Depression affects the lives of thousands of young Australians. It’s one of the most common health issues for pre-adults.

Depression is a mental illness that means feelings of sadness last longer than usual and affect most parts of your life, stopping you enjoying what you used to do.

While no one else’s experience will be exactly the same, young people share similar feelings, doubts and thoughts.

Many have found the support they need to feel better, confident and able to do the things they enjoy.

These statistics are via beyondblue.com (based on a range of research studies and survey reports):

One in 16 young Australians is currently experiencing depression.

One in six young Australians has an anxiety condition.

One in four young Australians has a mental health condition.

Evidence suggests three in four adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24, and half by age 14.

Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for deaths of more young people than car accidents.
Young people are most concerned about coping with stress, school or study problems, and body image.

What are the symptoms of depression?*

You may be experiencing depression if, for more than two weeks, you’ve felt sad, depressed or irritable most of the time, or you’ve lost interest or pleasure in your usual activities. Other symptoms may include:

  • Loss of interest in food or eating too much, leading to weight loss or gain
  • Having trouble sleeping (getting to sleep and/or staying asleep), or oversleeping and staying in bed most of the day
  • Feeling tired most of the time, or lacking energy and motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Feeling worthless or guilty a lot of the time
  • Feeling everything has become ‘too hard’
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide
  • People with depression might have other mental or physical health problems as well, such as anxiety, or using cigarettes, alcohol or illegal drugs excessively.

For more info on depression in young people, scroll to the bottom of this page for links to getting help.

*Reproduced with the permission of headspace.org.au from the document: Understanding depression – for young people.