We asked 18,800 young people about the issues they care most about in Mission Australia’s 21st annual Youth Survey 2022. Along with the challenges and concerns young people face, the report also reveals the top three issues in Australia today for young people aged 15 to 19 years.

Three most important issues on the minds of young people in 2022

1. Half of all young people surveyed said the environment was one of the most important issues in Australia

From severe flooding in parts of the region to raging bushfires, young people were more concerned about the effects of climate change on the environment than ever before. Over half (51%) of the young people who responded to the Youth Survey 2022 said the environment was one of the biggest issues in Australia today, an increase from 38% in 2021 and 30% in 2020.

 Image of a young female. Text on image reads, ‘If the government/s (Australian but also internationally) and corporations took stronger action against climate change, I think I’d be less worried.’ - Female, 15, NSW

Not only was the environment one of the most important issues in Australia, around one quarter (26%) of respondents said they were 'extremely’ or ‘very concerned’ about climate change and its effects.

2. Equity and discrimination still matter to young people

Equity and discrimination were major areas of concern for young people, both at a national and personal level. More than one-third of young people said equity and discrimination (36%) was an important national issue, and just over one-quarter (27%) of those surveyed were unfairly treated in the past year, mostly due to their gender, race/cultural background or mental health.

 Image of a young male. Text on image reads, ‘The biggest challenge I have faced is racism and discrimination, as well as struggling with the perception of self and confidence. These have been problems all my life and they have not changed at all. I don’t feel they will ever change.’ - Male, 16, QLD

3. Mental health is a national and personal concern for many young people

Mental health encompasses more than just an absence of mental health disorders. According to the World Health Organization, ‘mental health’ can be defined as a state of mental well-being that allows people to:

  • Cope with the stressors of life
  • Realise their potential
  • Contribute to their community
  • Cope with the stressors of life
  • Make healthy decisions Build relationships.1

In our annual Youth Survey 2022, half (50%) of the young people we surveyed indicated they were positive about their future, but the proportion of young people with this positive outlook has sadly decreased since 2020.

 Image reads ‘More than one third (34%) of young people we surveyed felt mental health is an important national issue.’

Almost three in 10 (29%) young people indicated high levels psychological distress and almost one-quarter (24%) said they felt lonely all or most of the time.

More than half (53%) of all respondents also said they needed support with their mental health at some point in their life.

Mental health can affect young people in a myriad of ways. Read how our teams supported Holly on her first day of school.

About Annual Youth Survey

Mission Australia’s Youth Survey includes responses from 18,800 young people surveyed between April and August 2022.

The results of the Youth Survey are shared with governments, non-government organisations, schools and the media to inform the debate around the circumstances of young people in Australia and to support the development of policies, services and programs that have the needs of young people at their core.

Download your copy of Mission Australia’s Youth Survey Report 2022 for more information on youth in Australia.

Youth Survey Report 2022

Youth Survey Report 2022 Summary Booklet

Youth Survey 2022 State sub-reports

1 World Health Organizaation: Mental health: strengthening our response, 17 June 2022

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