Youth Focus has been named a national finalist in the prestigious Australian Event Awards for the third time, recognising the outstanding success of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth in extending the suicide prevention message.
The Ride was shortlisted in the Best Charity or Cause-Related Event category, which acknowledges an event that raises awareness, promotes engagement and benefits a charity or cause.
The Hawaiian Ride for Youth last year won the WA Best Charity or Cause-Related Event at the Australian Event Awards and was the national winner for the category in 2012 and 2015.
Since it started 16 years ago, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth has raised a staggering $19.7 million to help Youth Focus support young Western Australians at risk of suicide and facing mental health challenges.
The Hawaiian Ride for Youth is held across 4.5 days in March each year, with cyclists covering more than 700km each on their journey from Albany or Geraldton to Perth.
While cycling through regional towns, pelotons visit schools to engage with and educate students about the importance of positive mental health, leaving a legacy for regional communities to empower, change and save young lives.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with new 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.
In addition, one in four young Australians live with a mental health condition, with 75 per cent of mental illnesses first appearing in people under the age of 25.
Youth Focus Acting Chief Executive Officer Raj Thethy said the nomination was national recognition of the important work of Youth Focus to prevent youth suicide.
“The Hawaiian Ride for Youth and associated events at schools and in regional towns have helped build communities that have the skills and know-how to start important conversations about mental health to help young people in need,” Mr Thethy said.
“Community awareness is an integral part of Youth Focus’s mission to prevent suicide. The Hawaiian Ride for Youth is an important part of raising awareness about youth mental health, particularly in regional and remote parts of Western Australia.
“Since its inception, the event has engaged with 33,500 regional high school students in regional WA to raise mental health awareness.”
Last financial year, Youth Focus supported a record number of young people in WA, providing free counselling and assessment services to 3678 young people and school and community education to another 6000.
Winners will be announced tonight at the Australian Event Awards and Symposium, a national awards program and conference for the Australian events industry, at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast.
Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443