Youth Focus’ inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan, unveiled today, shows our deep commitment to change and our desire to make a positive impact on the emotional and social mental health of First Nations Australians.
The development of a RAP validates our pledge to create meaningful relationships that are inclusive, trustworthy, reciprocal and adaptable. We believe our nation will be enriched by acknowledging, celebrating and preserving the unique and enduring cultures, languages and identities of the First Australians.
The RAP – entitled Reflect (April 2021-October 2022) – is an agreed strategy, which has been developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and details how Youth Focus plans to achieve a greater level of trust, understanding and connectedness to these communities.
Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Arthur Papakotsias said the organisation would wholeheartedly commit to delivering the important actions of the RAP.
“We know from external evidence and our own research, that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are socially and economically disadvantaged,” Mr Papakotsias said.
“This is no more evident than in the unacceptably high numbers of self-harm and suicide occurring in these communities, which is a profound concern for us as an organisation and as a community.”
Through our RAP, Youth Focus will endeavour to become a mental health provider of choice for Aboriginal young people, their families and communities.
Importantly, and in keeping with our ethos, the artwork for the RAP by acclaimed artist Tyrown Waigana expresses four pillars of support connected to youth as a central entity.
Waigana, a Wandandi Noongar (Aboriginal) and Ait Koedhal (Torres Strait Islander), has used the blue circle to represent community, the green for country, the red as family and the purple for culture. The central yellow circle is representative of youth.
These elements need to work together to create a single network which allows for the holistic progress of young people.
“In the artwork itself you will notice four circles surrounding a larger circle in the centre. These four circles are representative of something that helps keep youth strong and creates strong youth for the future,” Waigana said.
“I wanted to create something bright that attempts to engage youth from all different backgrounds, however put it through the lens of Aboriginal culture.
“I think this is important because although not everyone is Aboriginal, I do believe there are teachings in our culture that can help aid young people in identifying themselves and learn about the rich culture of this country.”
Waigana is a multi-disciplinary artist who practices with painting, illustration, sculpture, animation and graphic design. His most significant accomplishment was being named the winner of the national 2020 NAIDOC poster competition for his artwork “Shape of Land”, which depicted the Rainbow Serpent coming out of the Dreamtime to create this country.
For more information, see the Youth Focus RAP here.