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Fundraising appeal to help more young people through COVID-19

Youth Focus has launched its end-of-financial-year fundraising drive in an effort to help more young people navigate their way through mental health challenges sparked by the COVID-19 crisis.

The organisation, which offers free counselling for people aged between 12 and 25, is calling for donations to ensure it can continue to fulfil its suicide prevention mission and provide mental health support and education to young Western Australians.

“The impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on our community, our lives and our mental health cannot be understated,” Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Arthur Papakotsias said. “Now, more than ever, we at Youth Focus, need to ensure we have maximum funds to help maximum people.

“Australian mental health experts have warned that suicides and mental health issues could be the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This is sobering. We need to ensure we are in the best possible position to provide care and support to as many young Western Australians as we can.”

The forecast comes amid latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data that show suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the nation, with 49 young people aged between 15 and 24 taking their own lives in WA in 2018.

Money raised through the Youth Focus end-of-financial-year appeal in May and June will help the organisation continue its work to provide free, unlimited counselling sessions for young people and suicide prevention education programs in WA schools.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic Youth Focus has continued to see a steady intake of clients,” Mr Papakotsias said.

“We expect a likely upswing in demand for our services in coming weeks and months and are working to ensure we can deliver services to as many young people as possible during this challenging time.

“Since late March, Youth Focus has successfully transitioned 80% of our counselling services online to help mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

Mr Papakotsias urged the community to support the Youth Focus appeal, citing that the organisation had provided care to more than 25,000 young people through free, unlimited counselling services and outreach programs in schools since its inception in 1994.

“It is largely due to the generosity of individuals and companies that we are able to provide young people with critical counselling services and suicide prevention education in schools,” he said.

“Without this generosity, we would not be able to continue to support and care as many vulnerable young people as we do.”

Last financial year, Youth Focus supported a record number of young people aged between 12 and 25 in WA, providing free counselling and assessment services to 4559 young people and school and community education to another 6800.

Youth Focus has provided counselling and support to young people across WA for the past 26 years. Services also include suicide prevention education in the schools and the community, as well as web-counselling to regional and remote parts of the state.

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Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443, [email protected]