Fight­ing youth men­tal health

Youth want stigma re­moved

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Inge Hansen

THE Whit­sun­day youth spoke, and peo­ple lis­tened.

Stigma, bul­ly­ing, aware­ness and stress are the main is­sues youth want ad­dressed to com­bat youth men­tal health and pro­fes­sion­als are ready to do just that.

On Satur­day, May 21, a youth men­tal health fo­rum was held in Proser­pine to give youths aged 14-25 a chance to speak out about what they be­lieved needed to be done to help youth men­tal health.

Youth who at­tended the fo­rum as well as kids from schools in Collinsville, Bowen, Proser­pine, Can­non­vale and from groups across the region were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in an on­line sur­vey which was open from May 2 to June 24.

On Tues­day, Re­becca Woods and Ta­mara Noble from the Whit­sun­day Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre and Chris­tine Franklin from Sy­bella Health held a meet­ing with men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als, school ed­u­ca­tors, youth work­ers and coun­cil­lors to share and dis­cuss re­sults de­rived from the sur­vey.

Of the 86 re­spon­dents, the sur­vey found 40.96% of youths be­lieved be­ing men­tally healthy was im­por­tant.

Of those, 30.95% said they felt men­tally healthy ‘ of­ten’ while 7.14% said they ‘never’ did.

The sur­vey re­vealed 45 re­spon­dents wanted to learn more tips on how to im­prove men­tal health while 40 wanted to know how they could help someone who needed men­tal health sup­port.

Ms Woods said there was one find­ing which par­tic­u­larly stood out.

“The big­gest find­ing we had there was around stigma, which has al­ways been an is­sue with men­tal health,” she said.

“It was also around the lack of ed­u­ca­tion and not just to do with youth and how to deal with is­sues that im­pact with their men­tal health day to day but also with par­ents and how they’re cop­ing with things.”

Gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics show sui­cide is the lead­ing cause of death for both adult males and fe­males aged 15-44 years while in­ten­tional self-harm is the lead­ing cause of death for those aged 10-24.

Queens­land has the high­est num­ber of sui­cides in a 15-24 year-old age group in Aus­tralia and one in 10 young peo­ple have en­gaged in self harm­ing be­hav­iour.

A book­let which will in­clude all the find­ings from the sur­vey will be dis­trib­uted to schools, youth men­tal health work­ers, so­cial work­ers, counsellors and spon­sors in the region. To view full re­sults visit www.ymh­whit­sun­­rum-event.

HELP­ING YOUTH: Re­becca Woods, Ta­mara Noble, Chris­tine Franklin and guests at the meet­ing on Tues­day.

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