Hon­our for Youth Fo­cus boss

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

YOUTH Fo­cus chief ex­ec­u­tive Jenny Allen was recog­nised for her con­tri­bu­tion to the men­tal health sec­tor in WA when she re­ceived the Award for Life­time Achieve­ment in Men­tal Health last week .

She has spent the last 15 years at the helm of the Bur­swood-based Youth Fo­cus, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides free ex­pert men­tal health ser­vices to more than 2000 young peo­ple each year who are at risk of sui­cide.

Ms Allen said she was hon­oured to have been recog­nised at the State Gov­ern­ment’s Men­tal Health Good Out­comes Awards but said there was still work to be done.

“Youth sui­cide is still the big­gest killer of young peo­ple un­der 25 in Aus­tralia,” Ms Allen said.

“This award is not for me but for Youth Fo­cus and for all who work to im­prove the lives of our young peo­ple: our staff, our part­ners in the sec­tor and our busi­ness spon­sors, who make it all pos­si­ble.”

Ms Allen said the great­est change she had seen dur­ing her time at Youth Fo­cus was in ed­u­ca­tion.

“There is a whole-of-com­mu­nity re­spon­si­bil­ity to recog­nise that a huge so­cial prob­lem ex­isted and chip­ping away at the stigma sur­round­ing youth sui­cide is im­por­tant,” she said. “What I dream of and push ev­ery day to achieve is the abil­ity of young peo­ple to recog­nise the sup­port and love that is there for them if they will just let us in to as­sist when the go­ing gets tough.”

Ms Allen is an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Youth Fo­cus Board, as well as the only West Aus­tralian on the board of Sui­cide Preven­tion Aus­tralia, the na­tional peak body for sui­cide preven­tion.

Her term as chief ex­ec­u­tive of Youth Fo­cus will end later this year.

If you or some­one you know needs ur­gent sup­port, con­tact Sui­cide Call Back Ser­vice on 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Life­line on 13 11 13.

Jenny Allen.

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