Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Young Territorians wanted for national survey

To coincide with National Youth Week, Mission Australia is calling on young Territorians to help highlight important issues in their lives by having their say in the charity’s 2011 National Survey of Young Australians – the nation’s largest annual report on the views, concerns and values of young people between the ages of 11-24.

In launching the 2011 survey, Mission Australia’s NT Director, Phillip Leslie, said it gave young people a voice across a range of issues with the information being used to help community groups and governments plan and develop youth services.

“Mission Australia’s annual youth survey is a ‘temperature check’ on what young people are feeling, what issues concern them, what they think are the main challenges facing the nation and how optimistic they are about the future,” Mr Leslie said.

“Responses to the survey help governments, youth agencies and ourselves improve and develop programs and strategies that are shaped by the voices of young people themselves.”

Last year’s survey tested the views of close to 1,500 young Territorians (50,000 young people nationally – its biggest group since the survey began in 2002) between the ages of 11-24 (87.9 per cent aged 11-19).

When asked to rank their personal concerns from 15 issues body image was ranked most frequently in the top three by 30.5 per cent of NT respondents, followed by alcohol at 27.6 per cent and family conflict at 26.5 per cent.

For the first time the survey asked young people for their unprompted views on the most important issues facing Australia.

Heading NT responses was environment with 49.9 per cent ranking it as a ‘top three’ issue followed by alcohol and drugs (39.2 per cent). Environment was the major issue for all age groups and for both males and females in the NT.

“Young people’s concerns can be quite volatile – moving around from year to year – and they differ between age groups so it’s important we conduct this survey annually, with as many participants as possible, to obtain an accurate picture.

“The range of concerns - from stress to depression, suicide and body image – also suggest young people are facing increased challenges as they make the transition from adolescence to adulthood,” Mr Leslie said.

Mission Australia’s 2011 National Survey of Young Australians can be completed online at www.mayouthsurvey.com.au. It is also available at all Mission Australia services, secondary schools, TAFE facilities and libraries nationwide.

The survey closes on Friday, 29 July with the results to be published later in the year.

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