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Financial concerns of Young People living in Regional WA


Surveys have shown that the youth in regional areas such as Busselton and Broome start worrying about their future at a very young ages, in some cases, before they are 12 years of age. In particular, they consider whether they will reside permanently in their communities or will relocate to Perth in pursuance of employment opportunities or education


Speaking of education, the risk of disengagement or dropout from school and learning becomes disconcertingly prevalent from about year 5. The risk of disengagement becomes more glaring considering the fact that rural schools in Western Australia have access to very limited resources to manage these students.


Efforts needs to be made to retain, attract and engage young people living in regional areas of Western Australia. With consideration made to the financial and employment opportunities young people have outside of big cities. Inner regional areas have dense population, like those outside non-capital cities e.g. Busselton and Broome. Outer regional areas have a far lower population density, which is why a tailored approach is needed.



YOUTH ENGAGEMENT


Engagement is important in youth development. Young people need to be well-engaged as a means of transiting successfully to adulthood. Feeling connected and valued by their community, friends, and family helps a young person to have a good quality of life, which in turn makes positive impacts on employment, well being, and education. Efforts to improvement youth engagement in regional communities will have trickle down effects; improving finances, employment opportunities and mental health.


However, the discourse on youth engagement is often approached from a view of point of disengagement: as a problem in dire need of fixing. This glosses over the complexity of engagement by channeling efforts on one symptom of disengagement, rather than evaluating all possible contributing factors. And differences in the characteristic of rural areas differs across communities, for e.g. in the Pilbara compared to the South-West thus making it difficult to address with one policy.


FINANCIAL AND EMPLOYMENT CONCERNS OF YOUNG REGIONAL DWELLERS


Financial concerns


Many young people are plagued by financial stress according to a research by ReachOut Australia and Mission Australia. For these young people, financial stress constituted being unable to afford their basic wants, living an impoverished life, experiencing

food insecurity, and being overwhelmed by excessive debt.



For those who relocated from a regional to a metropolitan area in pursuit of further education, financial stress was more evident. Young people admitted that they incurred high costs of living in the cities, forcing them to combine their academics with work in order to offset some of their bills.


Concerns about employment


Youth unemployment is very high in Broome and Busselton. Young people dwelling in regional areas admit that they face challenges attempting to gain employment while at school. There are scarcely any positions for the young people, with the available ones allocated to older workers who could work during school times. The problem is further compounded for young people who are involved in sporting activities, thus making their potential employers less willing to engage them.


Broome and Busselton dwellers may only find work in few places including a pub, petrol station, or supermarket. In the absence of any jobs, they’re left with no other option than travel to find work or reduce their academic commitments.


The struggle to find work is also compounded by the fact that most employers want experienced staff, but they cannot get experience due to the limited opportunities. Young people want potential employers to give them a chance and train them up.


THE LINK BETWEEN FINANCIAL STRESS AND MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUNG

PEOPLE

In light of the upcoming World Mental Health Day (October 10) – to create awareness

and also eradicate the stigma around people with mental health issues. It's worth remembering that at least 3 million Australians suffer from some form of anxiety or depression, but only about 35 percent have access treatment.


A 2015 survey by the Australian Psychological Society Stress and Wellbeing in Australia has

shown that financial issues are one of the major causes of stress. A survey by the CoreData and Financial Mindfulness discovered that one in three Australians suffer financial stress.



Everyone experiences stress. It is part of our daily life, but sometimes, it can result in mental health conditions. We all have different perspectives about stress. What might be a stressful situation to me might not be to you. However, there are a few life challenges that most people find stressful, such as financial and employment problems, personal health

issues, and relationship problems.


Financial problems such as unemployment, under-employment, retrenchment, or not having

sufficient funds to meet one’s needs or pay for basic expenses, taking on mortgage, credit cards, and other debts, might cause stress. It is important to note that low-income earners often experience high rates of stress and mental health conditions compared to people with substantial or high earnings; partly because they’re more likely to experience more financial stress.


Suggestions for young people who are experiencing financial stress


Managing financial stress is important as it exacerbates or triggers mental health conditions.

Some young people might be embarrassed to seek help but you should know that anyone, can experience financial stress. It is better to seek help and advice on how to overcome financial stress without delay rather than letting it accumulate to the extent where it impacts on your mental health.


Seek advice from family members and trusted friends or you may employ the services of a

professional financial counsellor who will assist you to review your finances, manage and

reorganize your budget, and offer advice on debt repayment. Consider approaching your bank, Centrelink or a mentor or elder who has your trust. If you have any underlying mental health condition, please speak with your doctor (you can contact our service - 08 9467 2272), NDIS social worker or psychologist and raise your financial concerns,