A growing number of young Australians feel isolated and left out in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new government survey revealed on Tuesday.
The survey by Headspace, the government’s youth mental health support agency, found that 60 per cent of respondents, all of whom were aged between 12 and 25, reported lacking companionship, while 62 per cent said they feel left out, reports Xinhua news agency.
Despite Australia’s strict coronavirus lockdowns ending more than 12 months ago, Headspace chief executive Jason Trethowan said the social isolation and stay-at-home orders have had a lasting impact.
“We’re finding many young people are still feeling cut off from the world and struggling to re-establish relationships,” he told the local media.
According to the national mental health organisation Beyond Blue, one in seven Australians, or 3.2 million people, is experiencing an anxiety condition at any given time and one in 16 are suffering from depression.
In the lead up to the Christmas period, suicide prevention service Lifeline has made more crisis support workers available to respond to 4,000 calls and messages every day.
“The idea of togetherness traditionally associated with holidays can also exacerbate the intense loneliness many people feel,” chief executive Colin Seery said.
The survey’s release came a eek after the federal government drew criticism for cutting the number of psychologist visits it will subsidise.
At the start of Covid-19 lockdowns, the then sitting government had increased the number of psychologist visits it subsidised in a year from 10 to 20 for every Australian.
Earlier this month, Health Minister Mark Butler said that the number would return to 10 per year from January 1, 2023.
The Australian Association of Psychologists, a national peak body, described it as a bitterly disappointing decision that would deny people the care they need.