Why, at a time when we’re healthier and wealthier than ever as a nation, are our kids feeling so anxious? Young boys and girls open up to Four Corners about what is on their minds.
Young Australians are rarely heard talking frankly about their place in the world, the responsibility they feel to tackle the world’s problems, the peer group pressures they face if they want to be popular, the demands to succeed at school and get a good job, and the often damaging effect that social media has on their lives.
These are some of the things that children and adolescents say make them feel anxious.
Left unsupported, kids suffering from anxiety can become depressed and even suicidal.
Recent research points to a surge in the number of adolescent girls who are self-harming.
Nearly one in five 16 to 17 year old girls are suffering from depression, and around one quarter say they have deliberately injured themselves at some point in their lives.
What is stressing our kids?
Here are the voices of young Australians, in their own words.
Sam, Cameron, Zach and Ben are 12 and 13 years old. They live in an outer metropolitan suburb and go to a local Anglican school. For boys so young, their worries are surprisingly grown up.
“The refugee incident in Europe — I found that quite upsetting to see people having to flee their homes [and] everything they know basically to try and find refuge. And the parents being split up from their kids – it’s pretty heart-wrenching.”
– Cameron, 12
“I worry about some things like terrorism, racism and poverty around the world and some diseases.”
– Zach, 12
Expressing your emotions:
Lliam is 15 years old. He says there is a lot of pressure on boys, and not expressing your emotions is ingrained in many boys through generations.