Reality check initiative

Toolkit to support young people

Young people are more digitally connected than ever but research tells they are the loneliest generation.

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Reality Check: A Future Healthy initiative

Future Healthy is made up of multiple projects

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Why 'Reality Check'?

4 in 5 young people say being socially connected is important for their mental wellbeing – but research tells us they’re the loneliest generation.

  • Loneliest generation

    Young person browsing mental health websites on phone

    It's no secret social connection is key to good health

    The more connected young Victorians feel to others, the more satisfied they are with their relationships and the happier they feel generally. 

    But research tells us they’re the loneliest generation.

    Reality is

    They're struggling to fit real-life social connection into their day-to-day lives. 

    Screens are often getting in the way of young people building real-life, meaningful connections with their peers.

    Which is why we're calling on young people to take a reality check on how they’re connecting with others and offer tips and ideas for socialising in real-life. 

    So we need your help

    On this page you'll find graphics, suggested copy and tips for how you can support young people by sharing the Reality Check message.

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Share Reality Check

Tag @FutureHealthyVic on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #RealityCheckVic to build the conversation with young people in your community.

  • Assets designed for 18 to 25 year-olds

    Photo of young people happy together plus some colourful illustrations

    Spread the word about how to build and maintain real-life connections.

    Because their health and happiness depend on it.


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    Social media

    Connecting in person is amazing, but sometimes it's hard to find the time and energy. Future Healthy Vic’s #RealityCheck has done the hard work for you - serving ideas to bring us back together. Think arts, sport, cooking or gardening. Pick what you love and connect with others who feel the same way. It's all about striking that perfect balance between online and offline activities. Give it a shot -


    Headline: Reality Check: It’s time to disconnect to reconnect. 

    Body: We know connecting in person makes us happy but, it can be tricky to find the time or the energy to make it happen. Life sort of gets in the way. There’s a lot to love about always being able to connect with our friends online. Yet we often find ourselves feeling more disconnected than ever. Like everything in life, it’s all about balance. Whether it be arts, sport, cooking or gardening, there are so many ways you can connect meaningfully with others. 

    Call to action: For ideas, head to

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5 tips to get young people connecting

Young people know connecting face-to-face is important. So what can we do to encourage them to build and maintain real-life connections?

    1. It's not useful to shame the use of social media - social media and online activity is an important tool for young people to form new connections and maintain existing ones. So simply telling young Victorians to “get off their phones and get outside” won’t resonate with them.  
    2. Offer free or low-cost activities - lack of time, energy and money are the most common barriers holding young Victorians back from engaging in their desired activities. So where possible, let’s make it easy and affordable for young people to connect by offering free and low-cost activities near them.  
    3. Normalise that feelings of nervousness are okay - half of young Victorians feel anxious about social events. If young people knew that actually a lot of their peers share their hesitation about socialising, it might actually help them feel better about their own feelings and remove some of the pressure they feel.   
    4. Encourage story sharing – Being social is a skill that anyone can develop and requires some effort. Sharing success stories about the fact that those who have a lot of connections, have had to work to create and maintain those connections might help others. You could also share stories from young people who participate in your activities asking them why they keep coming back, highlighting the felt benefits. 
    5. Social media channels are important - Young Victorians are avid users of TikTok and Instagram, but it’s important to understand some of the nuances of social media for targeted messages. Try TikTok and Instagram for general messages and YouTube specifically for young males. Snapchat is effective for targeting young regional Victorians but YouTube and WhatsApp are popular for young CALD audiences.
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Partner content

We're working in partnership with young content creators and youth media outlets:

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Survey results

VicHealth surveyed 1,000 Victorians aged 18-25 in May 2023.

  • Digital devices

    Sometimes get in the way and become time consuming.

    • 2 in 3 (66%) said they want to limit their time on social media
    • but at the same time, more than half (56%) agreed that social media can help build meaningful connections.  

    A lot's going on 

    Like study and full-time work, which can make it more difficult to create in-person, meaningful connections.

    • more than half (56%) don’t find it easy to make new connections
    • and almost half (47%) said it wasn’t easy to find in-person activities or groups they’re interested in. 


    Some things getting in the way of trying new activities: 

    • not enough time (58%)
    • not enough energy (47%)
    • not enough money (45%). 

In their words...


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Reality Check for young people

Share it with young people in your community.

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