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What’s really worrying Australians when it comes to wellbeing?

New research from health insurance comparison service comparethemarket.com.au has found that one-third of 18-30-year-olds are concerned about their mental health – a proportion that is higher than any other age group.

In addition, Millennials overall worry about falling ill more than over-70s.

The independent, nationally representative survey commissioned by comparethemarket.com.au asked 1299 Australians if they had ever worried about contracting a disease or falling sick with any of the following: mental health conditions, cancer, thyroid problems, sexually transmitted diseases, autoimmune diseases, major organ conditions, blood pressure issues, Type 2 Diabetes, respiratory conditions and accidents from sports or fitness activities.

Cancer, mental health conditions and injuries from sports worry Millennials the most

The research found that 71 per cent of 18-30-year-olds worry about getting sick or injured, compared with just 66 per cent of over-70s. In addition, more than half (51 per cent) of 18-30-year-olds also admitted to being more anxious about falling ill now than they had been three years ago.

When asked which conditions they worry about the most, 36 per cent of 18-30-year-olds selected cancer. Nearly a third (31 per cent) admitted they worry about developing a mental health condition – compared with 23 per cent of 31-50-year-olds, 16 per cent of 51-70-year-olds and just 8 per cent of over-70s who worry about mental health.

“The results reflect that Millennials are acutely aware that there is always some element of the unknown, that life can be unpredictable. Younger Aussies want to do everything possible to avoid getting sick or injured that can negatively impact their active lives," health expert at comparethemarket.com.au, Anthony Fleming, said.

“With 14 per cent of young men aged between 15-34 and a further 23 per cent of young women in the same age bracket suffering from a mental health condition, it’s especially important that under-30s take all the necessary steps to protect their health and wellbeing.”

Across all respondents, more than two in three people (68 per cent) said that they knew someone aged under 30 who needed medical care, such as the use of an ambulance, in the last five to 10 years. Of those, 48 per cent said it was for dental surgery or allied therapies such as physiotherapy, 42 per cent said it was for an ambulance service, and 32 per cent said it was for psychological treatment for a mental illness.

The potential health conditions that worry all Aussies, not just Millennials

Across the whole respondent pool, the top three health conditions that concern Aussies the most are cancer (44 per cent), major organ conditions such as heart disease (26 per cent) and mental health conditions (23 per cent).

Mr Fleming says 18-30-year-olds who are concerned about their health should consider private health insurance: “Treatments such as dental surgery[3], physiotherapy[4] and even ambulance services[5] are often not completely covered by Medicare, leaving patients with out-of-pocket expenses. Private health insurance policies are broken down into hospital and extras cover, which provide different levels of coverage that can reimburse consumers for some or all the costs associated with these procedures.

“Health cover can help Aussies old and young alike get back on their feet faster and assist in mitigating health costs should they suffer a serious health setback. The Government also offers an age-based discount of up to 10 per cent on premiums for those who take out private hospital cover prior to turning 30. We encourage consumers to shop around for a policy that better suits their circumstances and maximises the benefits they can get for an affordable price.”