TODAY |

'A silent pandemic' - Rise in Kiwi youths suffering from mental health distress

There's been a large rise in the number of young New Zealanders coping with mental health conditions and distress over the past decade.

Source: Breakfast

A report published today found nearly a quarter of teenagers report symptoms of depression within the last year - almost twice as many as in 2012.

Meanwhile, six per cent of students reported attempting suicide in the last 12 months, 7.3 per cent of females and five per cent of males. 

More than half of LGBT youth reported symptoms of depression.

The psychologists and academics behind today's report call it a "silent pandemic of psychological distress".

"We do not understand yet the reasons for the very rapid rise," they wrote.

Source: TVNZ

"The yet unknown impacts of Covid-19 on youth are likely to be extensive and enduring, exacerbating already declining mental wellbeing."

Authors Sir Peter Gluckman and Professor Richie Poulton say urgent action is needed to help New Zealand's young people.

"These issues predated Covid-19, but Covid came along and just poured psychological gasoline on an already vulnerable group," Mr Poulton says.

They say a new fit-for-purpose study is needed to help understand the issues facing New Zealand's youth, to help development of targeted and effective interventions.

The paper is titled Youth Mental Health in Aotearoa New Zealand: Greater Urgency Required and was produced by Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures.