Last updated: 15 Jul, 2020

Young adults, mental wellbeing and work: How can we support young adults on their journey to find purposeful work.

In June 2018, VicHealth, in collaboration with key youth partners, brought together a diverse group of 18-25 year old Victorians for an important conversation about supporting their journey to purposeful work.

During 18–25 years, young people go through important transitions with education, work, family and relationships, including moving from education (school, tertiary or trades) to purposeful employment. It’s a critical window for individual development yet the data tells us our young people aren’t doing so well during this time:

  • It now takes almost 2.6 years to get a stable job after finishing education, compared to 1 year a generation ago
  • 1 in 8 young adult Victorians are lonely – a key risk factor for depression
  • 1 in 4 young adult Victorians report limited access to social support when needed.
  • 75% of adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24.

Read more about the problem as well as Young Victorians and the workforce research.

A citizens’ jury of 54 young Victorian’s gathered across a weekend to consider a broad range of information presented to them addressing the clear question of “Young adults, mental wellbeing and work: How can we support young adults on their journey to find purposeful work”.

The result was a consensus point of view on 11 recommendations (Asks) in response to the question. View the full report and other event collateral below

Progress to date

October 2018 – Staying on Track Report launch

The Participants Report was launched at a gathering of organisations representing philanthropy, youth and community agencies and industry bodies, who are passionate about youth mental health. Collectively known as the Bright Futures Collaboration, over 40 organisations are using the report as the basis for new programs and/or evidence to support existing programs. 

Economic modelling undertaken by Lateral Economics to estimate the cost of poor mental wellbeing due to the delayed transition to employment for today’s young Victorians, was also released.

November 2018 – Investor Forum

The Bright Future Collaboration gathered to form consensus on cross-sector funding criteria; common scale and impact potential measures; and mechanisms to bring timely investment capital.

July 2019 – Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

The Participant’s Report, and their 11 Asks, was included in VicHealth’s submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.  We’re pleased the Royal Commission’s interim report includes the impacts on young people in its ‘major themes’ (pp.6–10).

October 2019 – Bright Futures Collaboration Workshop

The 11 Asks have formed the basis of a Check-in Opportunity for Employers – a resource to ‘nudge’ employers to be aware of young adults needs as they transition to employment and how best to support them to thrive.


Read Staying on track participants' report

View Event video

Media release "Mental wellbeing impact of graduate employment delay costs Victoria up to $100m per year" (Oct 2018)

Read Lateral economics report on economic costs of delayed transitions

Read Check-in Opportunity for Employers - this resource is a direct representation of Asks developed by the 2018 Staying on Track participants.