Young People Are Mentally Resilient, But Should They Be?

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A recent National Youth Mental Health Survey from headspace revealed that 61 percent of young people felt that they tend to bounce back quickly after hard times. But should young people really have to be so good at bouncing back?

Headspace’s national survey showed that 52 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “It does not take long to recover from a stressful event”. And 69 percent of those surveyed were found to have normal and high levels of resilience.

While resilience can be a really great trait, it kind of sucks that it feels more necessary than ever to be able to bounce back in the first place.

Junkee spoke to Rupert Saunders, headspace National Clinical Advisor, and Jamil, a young person who worked closely with headspace, to see what the results of the survey mean for young people and how we could take things in a better direction.

“Many young people across the country are feeling the impacts of climate change and events like natural disasters,” Rupert told Junkee. “So it’s really lovely to hear from young people, that they’re feeling resilient, in the face of lots of challenging things going on in the world.”

Resilience, according to Rupert, is less like a laser shield to deflect stressors, and more like a trainable skill that can be strengthened over time. And considering the past decade of, ahem, unprecedented events that have impacted the formative years of many young people, resilience is probably at an all-time high.

“From my personal experience and my friends’, we really had to do a lot to be able to graduate and get through our education, while having the whole world around us really change,” explained Jamil. “I think I’m mainly proud of just feeling like I’ve really got my confidence back.”

“I think it’s hard as a young person to feel like your achievements are very big, because you’re still coming up in the world,” he adds. “And you see people older than you who are doing so many great, amazing things. It’s important for everyone and myself to keep reminding ourselves that our achievements are still really big and, and, you know, perfect for exactly what we’re going through in life and, and all our stages and stuff.”