Young Aboriginal trailblazer Jack Collard and communications dynamo Derry Simpson have been appointed to the Youth Focus Board, joining a dedicated team driven to improve youth mental health services in Western Australia.
Youth Focus Board Chair Dean Hely said Mr Collard and Ms Simpson were welcome additions and had been selected for their tenacity and unabating passion for the youth mental health and suicide prevention causes.
“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Derry and Jack as directors on the Youth Focus Board,” Mr Hely said.
“Each have impressive skill sets, which we believe marry well with the ethos of Youth Focus and our passion to help young people overcome mental health challenges to become the best they can be.”
Currently the Head of Brand and Strategic Communications at the Telethon Kids Institute, Ms Simpson has a wealth of experience in brand, business and communications roles and is dedicated to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for children.
Mr Collard, a Whadjuk-Ballardong Nyoongar man who was awarded the NAIDOC Perth Youth of the Year Award in 2019, is a co-facilitator of the Boorloo (Perth) Indigenous Youth Yarning Circle and a member of Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan Steering Committee.
He is an elected member of the Global Steering Committee for the United Nations Global Indigenous Youth Caucus and was a delegate to United Nations forums on indigenous issues in 2018 and 2019.
Mr Collard said he was excited to be involved in Youth Focus’s valuable work.
“I’m deeply concerned about the devastating rates of youth suicide, particularly in the Nyoongar community, and know how important access to culturally safe mental health service is for First Nations’ people,” Mr Collard said.
“Through my involvement with the Global Steering Committee for the United Nations Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, I have gained insight into the many ways Indigenous people from across the globe seek to address the social inequalities and associated mental health issues faced as a consequence of the ongoing legacy of colonisation.”
Ms Simpson said: “I am very excited about joining the Board of Youth Focus. It’s an impressive group of passionate and talented individuals who are all absolutely committed to the vision of the organisation.
“My eyes have been opened through my position at Telethon Kids Institute to the complexity and significance of mental health issues for young people in this state and I’m looking forward to offering my skillset to support the team at Youth Focus.”
Youth Focus is the only specialist non-government youth mental health service in WA and works to prevent suicide and improve the mental health of young people aged 12 to 25 through its free, unlimited counselling, outreach and community education services.
Last financial year Youth Focus supported 6090 young people through its free, uncapped counselling and assessment services and another 5773 people through school and community education programs at 37 schools.
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