A startling survey has revealed that 40% of Australian women have depression and anxiety. It found that women aged 18-35 have the highest anxiety scores -and social media could be the culprit.
The Jean Hailes Women's Health Survey 2017 questioned more than 10,000 Aussie women diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
Survey director, Dr Helen Brown, provided The Guardian with a possible explanation for why so many young women experience mental illness: "I think they put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves to be "ever-ready", to be on Instagram et cetera, which means they constantly have their phone in their hand and being ready for it."
What were women battling with? Almost half said "worrying too much about different things".
On top of that, more than 40% of women said they felt anxious and on edge, getting easily irritated or annoyed.
Many also said they were overwhelmed by health information online.
"They are getting a lot of information about their health but actually they are getting too much and so they're getting confused as to what they should trust.
"In the old days we used to get health messages from our GPs, you know very restricted views, and now that it's open to everything its really hard to work out who to believe."
How to combat anxiety in the digital age
Question is - what can women do to reduce stress and cultivate a healthier mind?
Brown advises: "Behaviour change is extremely complicated, we live in a very complex environment but it's still trying to remember the basics of eating well, exercising well or being active."
Thankfully, that doesn't mean signing up for a marathon or slogging it out in the gym seven days a week. Instead, Brown says "it's just making sure you're active throughout the day, like using the stairs instead of the lift."
The survey showed that 60% of Aussie women didn't get enough exercise, falling short of the recommended 2.5 hours a week. They cited being too tired or struggling to find the time as reasons for being less active.
If you're experiencing anxiety or depression, seek help from a trusted health professional.