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Australian chaplains concerned for youth mental health

From The Catholic Leader:

“Young people are calling it as they see it, with all their hopes and fears and expectations,” state chaplain at Mission Australia Deacon Peter Devenish-Meares, who is also a chaplain to the Queensland Police and army communities, said.

Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2018, released on November 28, reveals four in 10 (43 per cent) of young people aged between 15 and 19 years identified mental health as the top issue facing Australia.

That figure is up from 33 per cent in 2017, and is almost triple the result in 2015 (15 per cent).

Among more than 28,000 young Australians surveyed, coping with stress (43 per cent), school or study problems (34 per cent) and mental health (31 per cent) were identified as the top three areas of personal concern.

“The reality is mental health is a component of overall health – our physical health, our mental and social health, our spiritual health and having a definite life purpose and identity,” a chaplain to Queensland’s veterans community Deacon Gary Stone said.

“Firstly, we need to move our whole approach to health from focus on treatment after the event to a focus on promoting holistic wellness education to avoid health crises.

“Secondly, any response focusing on mental health alone will fail unless a total holistic health and well-being regime of education and treatment is undertaken.

“People succumb to mental health problems because other aspects of this life are disordered, be they physical, social, spiritual or relational.”

Mission Australia’s chief executive officer James Toomey said it was time to listen to young people’s clear and growing concerns around mental health and take immediate action to ensure all young people had access to the right supports.

“Whatever a young person’s background or circumstances, we know that access to appropriate and timely support can make a real difference in their lives,” Mr Toomey said.

Read more at The Catholic Leader.