The Progressive Deterioration of Mental Health in Australia’s Youth and Beyond

Portrait image of speaker Richard Moris next to a graph to indicate mental health in Autralia

Population levels of mental health have been declining in many countries, including Australia, and particularly among young people, adolescents, and school-aged children. Much of the discussion has been around generational-shifts in cyberbullying, social media use, and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Richard and colleagues modelled the (non-linear) trends in mental health using large population-based surveys (e.g., HILDA) by birth-cohort rather than age and estimated the differences between cohorts that were not confounded by linear age-period cohort effects.

The results revealed the mental health of the Australian population has been declining and confirmed the rate of this decline has been worse for younger generations and is not just an effect of their age that will resolve as they get older. However their results show the decline began as early as 2010, and the effects are much wider than the current crop of adolescents (Gen Z), and also affects older generations such as Millenials and Gen Y. Given the wide-spread nature of the decline, the causes are not necessarily limited to school-aged issues (e.g., cyber-bullying), but may be more wide-spread and already affecting the Australian workforce. Implications of these results for the school and workplace will be discussed.

Richard Morris is a senior researcher at the University of Sydney School of Medicine. He has a PhD in Psychology and has been studying Australia’s mental health since 2017. His work specialises in longitudinal modelling of mental health and subjective well-being, to guide State and Federal government policy, and improve public health and mental well-being for all Australians. He regularly contributes to The Conversation, and his work describing the recent declines in the mental health of young Australians has been featured in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, SBS, and ABC Science.

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Meeting ID: 884 7586 1856
Password: 469110

Date & time

Tue 21 May 2024, 1:00pm to 2:00pm


Room 4.69, RSSS Building 146 Ellery Crescent, Acton 2601, ACT


Richard Morris (University of Sydney)


Natalie Nitsche and Mike Roettger


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