Parent concern for their lonely children

Child comforted by adult. | Newsreel
Their children's loneliness is a major concern for Australian parents. | Photo: Nadezhda1906 (IStock)

Loneliness is having a major impact on the wellbeing of young people, according to the people who care for them.

A survey of Australia’s parents and carers by mental health service ReachOut found more than 80 percent believed loneliness was having a negative influence on their young person.

Other issues have major impacts were domestic violence (61 percent),  change in the family – such as death or divorce (60 percent) and neurodiversity (60 percent)

When asked about major concerns, 59 percent of care-givers put social media at the top of the list, ahead of concerns about what the future held for their children (56 percent).

Just over a half (52 percent) flagged school and exam stress as a concern, with 50 percent worried about their young person’s mental health.

Other concerns included their young person’s sleep, diet and exercise (43 percent), smoking or vaping (24 percent) and drug or alcohol use (20 percent).

When it came to seeking support for the issues impacting their young people, the report found parents and carers were turning to friends and other parents (51 percent) and the internet (43 percent) more than GPs or doctors (38 percent).

And, despite needing support, more than 80 percent of parents and carers reported that their support needs weren’t completely met in the past 12 months.

Parents and carers expressed a need for greater access to quality, trusted information and increased knowledge about how to get support for the young people they care for.

Greater access to professional advice and services was also identified by parents and carers as a key support need.

ReachOut Interim CEO Jackie Hallan said the new report provided important insights into the issues that families were facing and the support they needed.

“It’s vital that we let parents and carers know that support is available and easy to access. We want to encourage parents and carers to access ReachOut Parents free services, including expert parenting advice and parenting coaching. ReachOut Parents also provides pathways to further support for families if they need it,” Ms Hallan said.

Read the report