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Our Anxious Young Women.

The bigger question

Young women in Aotearoa New Zealand are under more pressure than ever before and their mental health is suffering as a result - rates of anxiety are skyrocketing. Our Insights and Advocacy Manager, Anna, breaks it down to answer the questions: why is this happening and what can we do about it?

What you should know

Statistics from the 2017/18 New Zealand Health Survey revealed that 17% of young women aged 15 to 24 experienced symptoms such as anxiety, confused emotions, depression or rage often - that’s double the rate of young men of the same age. There are gender-specific risk factors for anxiety such as the effect of gender-based roles and the negative life experiences that go hand in hand with these. Other risk factors that disproportionately affect women and girls include gender-based violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, low income and income inequality, low or subordinate social status and rank and the unremitting responsibility for the care of others.

Mental Health Support Should Be Culturally Responsive

The Pacifica and Māori young women we work with have told us that mental health support in Aotearoa NZ is very “white” and they don’t feel comfortable being so vulnerable in that context. "We need more Pacifica counsellors" – Sela, YWCA Auckland Future Leader programme graduate.

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