Masterchef Australia 2018 contestant Jenny Lam has thrown her support behind Youth Focus, donating a once-in-a-lifetime auction prize for the charity’s ball, Night of Nights presented by Audi.
Jenny, who has been cooking since the age of eight, has pledged to cook a three-course meal for a dinner party of up to 10 guests, including Fremantle Dockers Ed Langdon and Alex Pearce, who are Youth Focus ambassadors.
The major auction prize will be auctioned at the ball at Crown Perth on September 1.
Jenny, who now works at Perth’s top restaurant Wildflower and runs her own marketing business, said she was acutely aware of stresses that contributed to mental health, particularly in the hospitality industry, and endorsed the important work of Youth Focus.
“What’s great about Youth Focus is its pre-emptive measures and proactive work to help young people facing mental health challenges,” Jenny said.
“We’re hoping to raise as much as we can for this dinner prize – money that can be channelled into helping Youth Focus continue to provide free counselling and suicide prevention education for young people in Western Australia.
“As a chef, we work long hours and talking about your feelings is often not considered a priority and looked down upon. It’s great to have organisations like Youth Focus that drive home the message that it’s OK to share your feelings and seek support from others.”
Fremantle Dockers Alex Pearce and Ed Langdon said they were looking forward to enjoying Jenny’s gastronomic delights while raising money for Youth Focus and sharing awareness about mental health.
“Over the past couple of years I have personally dealt with some injuries and had some struggles myself, missing 20 months of football,” Alex said.
“During that time I had a lot of ups and downs. I was fortunate that I had a network of family, friends and strong connections with teammates who helped me get through.
“It’s been rewarding working with Youth Focus to help raise awareness and get people talking about this issue. As a footballer you don’t tend to talk about your feelings and open up as much as you should. We’re here to show that it is alright to talk about how you’re feeling, especially if things aren’t going so well.”
Ed said he had seen family and friends touched by mental ill health.
“Seeing firsthand the struggles they go through, it becomes evident that starting a conversation about mental health can really help. Having that support network in place is really important,” he said.
“That’s exactly what Youth Focus does – they encourage that conversation and show young people that it’s alright to have those conversations and lean on other people for support.”
Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Fiona Kalaf said Youth Focus supporters like Jenny, Alex and Ed were invaluable in helping the organisation continue its important work to prevent youth suicide.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with latest statistics showing 54 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in Western Australia in 2016. For every suicide, another 20 people attempt to take their own lives.
Last financial year, Youth Focus supported a record number of young people in WA, providing free counselling and assessment services to 3654 young people and school and community education to another 6000 people.
The Night of Nights presented by Audi is a key fundraising event for Youth Focus that helps the charity continue its work supporting young people with mental health challenges through the provision of free counselling and suicide prevention education.
Now in its 16th year, the event has raised millions of dollars and helped deliver 21,500 free counselling sessions for young people with depression, anxiety, self-harm and at risk of suicide.
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