Students from Pinjarra Senior High School and Gilmore College in Orelia have participated in a potentially life-saving Youth Focus mental health program, arming them with important skills to help themselves and others.
More than 330 students participated in 10 workshops across the two schools in July and August, thanks to a partnership between Youth Focus and Alcoa that delivers mental health services across the greater Peel region.
The program, Having a Conversation about Mental Health, is open to Year 9 students, parents and educators at secondary schools across Western Australia and is part of Youth Focus’ mission to improve the mental health of young people and prevent suicide.
Latest figures show suicide remains the leading cause of death for young Western Australians, with 49 young Western Australians aged between 15 and 24 dying by suicide in 2018.
Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Arthur Papakotsias said corporate partners like Alcoa were integral in helping the organisation reach as many young people as possible.
“Thanks to the support from Alcoa, Youth Focus has been entrenched in the Kwinana, Peel and Upper South West communities for many years,” Mr Papakotsias said.
“Through this partnership we have been able to reach more young people through school education programs, community forums and counselling services to share important messages about positive mental health, including practical ways to help someone who may be struggling.
“This program is about sharing important knowledge so young people, parents and teachers can recognise mental health issues early and seek appropriate help.”
Mr Papakotsias said education was a key element to addressing the growing number of young people seeking mental health support.
“We expect demand for our services to continue to increase, with population growth forecast to rise by almost 100,000 young people in the region in the next 10 years and, in turn, a likely surge in the number of teenagers who will need our help.”
The Youth Focus schools program was set up in 2012 to bolster mental health literacy in school communities. It is offered in addition to the organisation’s free, unlimited counselling sessions for young people in WA.
More than 5700 students across 37 Western Australian schools participated in the program last financial year.
Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443