Mental health, climate change, drugs and alcohol are the biggest issues concerning youth in the Northern Territory, a new report has found.
Mission Australia's Youth Survey Report interviewed more than 25,000 young people across Australia.
For the third year running, mental health was the top national issue, with young people facing a plethora of challenges and barriers.
Three in 10 young Territorians indicated mental health and the environment was a concern, and almost 30 per cent of respondents from the NT cited 'equity and discrimination' as an important issue.
"The environment soared from eighth place in 2018 to second place in 2019 of the topics that young people say are important issues in Australia," Mission Australia's chief executive James Toomey said.
"The growing public dialogue and experience of issues, such as extreme weather events and drought, are clearly affecting young people's view of the world."
He said the results of the survey indicated young people in Australia feel disenfranchised and deeply concerned by an inability to have their voices heard.
The report found the top four issues of personal concern for young people from the NT related closely to mental health.
More that 50 per cent of youth said they found it difficult to cope with stress, 43 per cent said school was a problem, and almost 40 per cent said body image played on their minds.
Nearly double the proportion of females from the NT were extremely or very concerned about coping with stress.
Mission Australia's regional leader for the Northern Territory Michael Soler said youth mental health is a serious national challenge which must be tackled as a priority.
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"The fact that mental health has been rated as the top issue for young Territorians for the third consecutive year reinforces the need to ensure access to programs that promote mental health and wellbeing in schools and holistic support for young people across our communities," he said.
He said young people want their voice to be heard and considered when it comes to the issues of the day.
"Mission Australia's Youth Survey provides valuable and clear insights into what our young people are thinking and feeling, and what matters most to them on a diverse range of issues facing young Australians today.
"Young people were asked whether they felt they have enough of a say about important issues, with only one in 16 young people from the NT feeling they have a say all of the time in public affairs."
For the first time, Mission Australia asked young people if they had experienced bullying within the last 12 months.
Nearly one third of all young Territorians reported they had experienced bullying at school or at home, with a greater proportion of young females reporting bullying than males.
"Schools, communities and families need to be resourced and equipped with the knowledge and tools to combat bullying," Mr Soler said.
"Bullying in any form, be it in person or online, emotionally or physically is never okay, and it needs to be called out.
"There is still a stigma about reaching out and seeking help, so we need to have more conversations about the support mechanisms available and investment in new and existing programs, such as Dolly's Dream and Beyond Blue.
"Bullying has long term, destructive impacts on mental health, wellbeing and self-confidence and it is vital that we encourage our young people to reach out and talk about any issues they may be facing and provide the support mechanisms that allow them to do so."
Of the 25,000 youth surveyed, only 318 were from the Territory.
It found a much higher proportion of females from the NT indicated they planned to go to university after school and a higher proportion of females reported studying full time.
Of those still in school, 95.4 per cent said they intended to complete year 12 and of those surveyed, more than half planned to go on to university.
"Young Territorians have a vital role in shaping the future of the Northern Territory for all Territorians. Now more than ever, young people want to be heard and contribute to the conversations about their future, and the future of Australia. It's vital that we listen, engage and apply these learnings to build a strong, vibrant and supportive community," Mr Soler said.
Young people in Katherine have access to a free and confidential mental health service with Headspace, which is located on Katherine Terrace.
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