Youth Focus is seeking 50 young men from the greater Albany region to join its fight against suicide by taking part in a workshop to help find ways to overcome the unacceptably high toll.
Young men aged between 16 and 24 are urged to volunteer their time for the large-scale community forum in Albany on Saturday, May 11 in a bid to create real solutions to prevent suicide among males.
The event, which will be held at the Albany Surf Lifesaving Club, Middleton Beach, comes after several suspected suicides in the region in recent months, including two young men believed to have taken their own lives.
Youth Focus has partnered with headspace Albany, the Palmerston Association and the City of Albany to stage the forum. Each participant will be paid $100 to be involved in the day.
Perth woman Lisa Dowie, whose 18-year-old son Keegan McAlpine died by suicide in 2015, will travel to Albany to share her deeply personal story at the event.
Youth Focus Senior Manager for Services, Development and Innovation Chris Harris said the Young Men’s Project was established in 2013 to inspire young males to work together on insightful and effective suicide prevention concepts.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with latest statistics showing 51 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in WA in 2017. For every suicide, another 20 people attempt to take their own lives.
“We need to arrest these statistics by ensuring young men feel comfortable and confident to start conversations about mental health with their mates,” Mr Harris said.
“The Young Men’s Project is about creating a space where we can work collaboratively on new and innovative strategies to help shift the way young men think about mental health issues and reduce the unacceptable toll of suicide.
“Many of these ideas aren’t expensive, technology based or time consuming. They can be the simplest of acts, like a community dinner, a community chat or any conduit that allows young men to let those closest know they may be doing it tough.”
In the past four years, Youth Focus Albany and headspace Albany have supported more than 2000 young people across the region through counselling and support services.
City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the council was proud to support the Young Men’s Project initiative to help reduce suicide.
“Youth suicide and suicide generally is a big issue for the community and as a community we need to come together and find solutions, ways we can provide more support to young men particularly and help them cope with whatever challenges they’re facing,” he said.
“The first step to addressing mental health issues is to talk about them and that’s why we’re supporting this forum to start a conversation in our community and region.”
The first Young Men’s Project was held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in 2015 and subsequent events have been held in Narrogin, Ellenbrook, Mandurah and Kwinana.
To register to take part in the Albany Young Men’s Project, visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/young-mens-project-workshop-albany-tickets-60252560029
Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443