Young people in Rockingham, Kwinana and Mandurah are seeking help from Youth Focus at a younger age, new statistics show.
Data shows that Youth Focus supports an average of 100 young people a year across the region, with 13 and 14 year olds comprising almost 40% of the client base so far this year.
Worryingly, less than a third of those who sought help in the area this year were males. This comes despite research showing young men are three times more likely to take their own lives than young women.
The statistics come as Youth Focus prepares to launch the Young Men’s Project in Kwinana in November in a bid to help address the unacceptably high number of men who die by suicide in Australia.
Youth Focus is calling for 50 young men between the ages of 18 and 25 to volunteer their time for the large-scale community forum that aims to create real solutions to prevent suicide amongst males.
Youth Focus has partnered with Alcoa of Australia to stage the Kwinana forum, which will be held on Saturday, November 24 at the Darius Wells Resource Centre from 10am to 4pm. 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 share her deeply personal story at the event.
Wildcats star Greg Hire, who runs charity A Stitch in Time to encourage resilience in young people through sport, mentoring and community workshops, will also attend.
Youth Focus Community Engagement General Manager 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Alcoa of Australia Chairman and Managing Director Michael Parker said the company was proud to support the delivery of both the Mandurah Young Men’s Project earlier this year and now the Kwinana event.
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 and Mandurah.
To register to take part in the Kwinana Young Men’s Project, visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/young-mens-project-workshop-kwinana-tickets-51132406404
If you or someone you know needs urgent support please contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443