ReachOut and Student Edge have today released new survey data indicating that up to 80 percent of students are somewhat or very anxious about climate change.*

The survey, conducted by Student Edge of over 1,500 students aged 14-23, also found that of the young people who indicated that they felt anxious about climate change, over 46 percent said they feel anxious about it on a weekly basis.

The results suggest that anxiety about climate change might be having an impact on young people’s wellbeing. Over 14 percent said that their concern about climate change was having a large impact on them, and over 17 percent reported that they had lost sleep due to being worried about climate change.

When it comes to their future, a total of 82 percent of students surveyed moderately or strongly agreed with the statement “climate change is going to diminish my quality of life in the future” and over 20 percent said they are “planning to not have kids or will have less kids” because of concerns regarding climate change.

Over 77 percent said they did not believe that young people’s concerns about climate change were being suitably addressed.

Dr Kerrie Buhagiar, Director of Service Delivery at ReachOut said that many young people are worried about climate change and encouraged them to look after themselves.

“We know that many young people are feeling anxious and stressed when it comes to climate change and their future and it’s an issue that’s often discussed in ReachOut’s peer support forums. For some, these concerns are having an impact on their wellbeing.

“There are some simple steps young people can take if stress about climate change is impacting them. Things like talking to others and taking action can put you in a more positive mindset. But equally, taking a break from social media so that you aren’t exposed to alarming messages all the time can be really important,” she said.

Head of Membership at Student Edge, Simon Miraudo said, “The effects of climate change aren’t just harming our environment; they could also be creating anxiety for young people facing an uncertain future.”

“Thankfully, we’re seeing proof that many students are channelling these concerns in a productive way, seeking out solutions and demanding climate action. For the sake of our young people in Australia, and the sake of our planet, we hope their voices are heard loud and clear, and their opinions respected.”

ReachOut has created an article to support young people who may be experiencing anxiety about climate change.

*Survey of 1,595 young people by Student Edge (not nationally representative). Gender split of those surveyed: 56% female, 44% male. Age of those surveyed: 14 – 23.  Participants under the age of 18 were high school students and those over were engaged in either a university degree or vocational training.  

ENDS

Media contact

Tessa Anderssen / 0411 708 587 / [email protected]

 

Key findings

  • A total of 82% moderately or strongly agreed with the statement “climate change is going to diminish my quality of life in the future”
  • A total of 80% said they are somewhat or very anxious about climate change
  • Over 17% have lost sleep due to being worried about climate change
  • Over 68% said climate change was very important to them
  • Of the young people who indicated they felt anxious about climate change, over 46% said they feel anxious about climate change on a weekly basis
  • Over 14% said this is having a large impact on them
  • Over 77% said they did not believe that young people’s concerns about climate change were being suitably addressed
  • Over 20% said they are planning to not have kids or will have less kids because of climate change

Interview opportunities

  • Expert from Student Edge can speak to the survey and the findings.
  • An expert from ReachOut can talk about the potential impact on young people.
  • A case study (Sydney based) can talk about their personal experience of climate anxiety.

About ReachOut Australia

ReachOut has been changing the way people access help since launching as the world’s first online mental health service nearly 20 years ago. Everything they create is based on the latest evidence and designed with experts, and young people or their parents. This is why ReachOut’s digital self-help tools are trusted, relevant and easy to use.

Available for free anytime and pretty much anywhere, ReachOut is accessed by 200,000 people in Australia every month. That’s more than 2.4 million each year.

About Student Edge 

Student Edge was founded in 2003 by students who recognised the challenges faced by young people on a range of issues such as cost of living, student life, access to part-time work and career guidance. Student Edge is now the largest member-based organisation of high school and tertiary students in Australia, with more than one million members nationwide. Student Edge also has a full-service market research arm called YouthInsight, which arose from a desire to share unique access and understanding of Australia’s Gen Y and Gen Z. Having worked with industry leaders in finance, education, consumer goods, telecommunications, peak bodies and government departments all the way through to tech start-ups and entrepreneurs, we’ve seen first-hand the power that insights can have on transforming and clarifying understanding, product development and take-to-market strategies. For student resources, including study tips and tools to get you job ready, visit studentedge.org. For more on YouthInsight, visit youthinsight.com.au.

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