“It can be difficult talking to my mum as I don't want to distress her. It's good to get professional help and not just rely on family. ”
Between the ages of 18 and 25, we experience some big changes and events in our lives. As a young adult, you may be entering the workforce, finding your identity, travelling, studying, moving out of home, and meeting or making new friendships. During this period, you might also be making important decisions about your future.
Increased independence and new responsibilities can be stressful. Relationship problems, sexual health and identity issues, money problems, and excessive alcohol or drug use, or other issues can contribute to this increased stress. This is a crucial time to look after your wellbeing.
My daughter has got some very close friends who have stuck by her when she became unwell. Having this kind of support is so important.
I went back through my family tree and found several relatives who had mental illnesses. When I told my son, he found it really helpful to know that there was a genetic link. It helped him realise that his mental illness is not his fault.
My daughter found art therapy to be really helpful. She goes to sessions when she is both in and out of hospital.
People display and manage signs and symptoms of mental health problems in different ways.
Acknowledging and facing changes in your behaviour, feelings, or perceptions early on can help you get back into balance. Developing life skills can help to improve wellbeing and mental health.
Self-care such as regular exercise, time with friends, activities that provide fun and relaxation can build good mental health and wellbeing and improve your ability to cope with day-to-day experiences. Developing personal skills will enable you to manage even when things don’t go as hoped or planned, or something unexpected and stressful comes your way.
Reaching out and talking to people you trust about what you’re going through can be a big step in the right direction. You may find this information on seeking support helpful.
Supporting another person
Many things can impact on a young adult’s mental health. Conflicts between their life path and family or societal expectations, challenging relationships, financial problems, and excessive alcohol or drug use are some of the influencing factors.
Young adults with an existing mental health condition might also feel lost between systems as they move from child and adolescent health care providers to adult services, possibly even looking after their own health care for the first time.
For families and friends, it can be difficult to watch a loved one go through hard times. If you're concerned that a young adult in your life is experiencing mental health issues, there are things you can do right away. The resources below have information and advice.
In supporting a young adult, it is important to look after yourself as well. Take a look at our pages on support for carers and how to support someone.
A closer look
Young adulthood is still a time of biological growth and change
Even though physical and sexual maturation has occurred in late teenage years, social and neural development keeps happening during your early twenties. The cerebral cortex of the brain comes ‘online’ at this time, improving the decision-making process and further refining emotional development. (Source)
Young adults are less likely to seek support
Australians tend not to access the mental health support they need. Young adults in particular are less likely to reach out for help. Early treatment of emerging mental health conditions is shown to help with recovery, so encouraging young adults to seek treatment is a positive first step. (Source)
Developing wellbeing practices provides short-term and long-term benefits
Young adults can find relief from the symptoms of mental ill-health through fun activities, regular exercise, time with friends, and relaxation techniques. These practices can also help guard against the onset of further mental health issues. Read more on wellbeing in the meaningful life section of this website. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).