Youth mental health organisation, ReachOut, released a report on International Day of Friendship (29 July), revealing that more than half (57%) of young people are concerned, stressed or worried about feeling lonely.
Based on a national survey by ReachOut of more than 660 young people aged 16-25 years, the report also shows that of the young people who reported loneliness as one of the most concerning issues for them, stress related to feeling lonely is manifesting in different ways including:
- having a moderate to major impact on their mental health and well-being (82%)
- mood changes (75%)
- sleep issues (64%)
- changes to appetite (30%)
- challenges with relationships (50%).
Gender, sexuality and location played a factor when it came to young people’s experiences of loneliness:
- 69% of women and 60% of non-binary and gender-diverse young people identified that they were feeling lonely, compared to 40% of males.
- 70% of LGBTQIA+ young people reported feeling lonely compared to 51% of heterosexual young people.
- 65% of young people living in regional and remote areas said they were feeling lonely, compared to 55% of young people living in major cities.
Ashley de Silva, ReachOut CEO, says that the International Day of Friendship is an important opportunity to highlight young people’s experiences of loneliness and to encourage young people to seek support.
“Not only does ReachOut’s new report show loneliness is a major issue for young people across the country, but it also shows that it’s having a range of impacts on their lives. Loneliness can affect mood, mental health and well-being, and other areas of a young person’s life including sleep, appetite and relationships.
“Importantly, this report is not just about numbers. When young people told us about their experiences of loneliness, many expressed a perceived lack of support from their friends and family, a need for closer relationships, a need for people to talk to and hopes to find new connections.
“By releasing this report on International Day of Friendship we want to open up conversations about loneliness, share ways to create connections and encourage young people to seek support,” he says.