Foun­da­tion forms to save young lives

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

A NEW foun­da­tion at UWA is aim­ing to save young lives.

The Young Lives Mat­ter Foun­da­tion will sup­port re­search to iden­tify pres­sure points for youth sui­cide and help pre­dict when a per­son is at high risk.

The foun­da­tion was launched last month by Foreign Af­fairs Min­is­ter and Curtin MHR Julie Bishop, and will bring to­gether med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, mathematicians and data an­a­lysts.

Foun­da­tion chair­man Ron­ald Woss’ daugh­ter took her own life in 1988, and said there was a great ur­gency for re­search to iden­tify those at risk so fam­i­lies, med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers and the com­mu­nity could pro­vide sup­port.

“Ev­ery month, ev­ery year that we don’t do some­thing to ad­dress this is­sue we are los­ing more and more young lives,” he said.

“We need to bet­ter un­der­stand what the stres­sors are through­out young peo­ple’s lives and get to them early.”

UWA Vice-chan­cel­lor Dawn Fresh­wa­ter said the pro­ject would de­velop a world­wide risk in­dex to as­sist young peo­ple.

“Youth sui­cide is an in­creas­ingly com­plex is­sue and there are huge ben­e­fits to un­der­tak­ing this pro­ject now, given ad­vances in modelling and an­a­lyt­ics, as well as men­tal health re­search,” Pro­fes­sor Fresh­wa­ter said.

The foun­da­tion has re­ceived seed fund­ing from John Har­riot, the R.W. Woss AM Fam­ily and the es­tate of Ted Finn, and is now look­ing for fur­ther fund­ing.

If you or some­one you know needs sup­port, con­tact Life­line on 13 11 14 or be­yond­blue on 1300 22 4636. Young peo­ple can also ac­cess headspace on 1800 650 890 or at headspace.org.au.

Young Lives Mat­ter Foun­da­tion chair­man Ron­ald Woss AM wants to iden­tify cir­cum­stances lead­ing to youth sui­cide.

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