A weekly drop-in program for LGBTIQA+ young people has taken out a major prize at the WA Mental Health Awards!
Our Place won the Diversity Award for delivering an inclusive program for LGBTQIA+ young people aged 12 to 25 years, in collaboration with the City of Swan, Youth Focus, and headspace Midland. Held at headspace Midland, Our Place is a weekly social drop-in program LGBTIQA+ young people and their allies – and an incredibly worthy winner of the Diversity Award!
“Last night was surreal, and I cannot stop pinching myself!” Casey Walton, community engagement officer at headspace Midland, said. “I am so very proud and humbled to receive such a prestigious award, and I’d like to thank everyone involved from the bottom of my heart for making this dream a reality.
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you all, but a huge shout out needs to go to all the young people driving this initiative each and every single day. It’s because of them, that Our Place has become so successful, and is thriving.”
There is a huge need for safe spaces such as Our Place in the community. In 2022, the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that including LGBTIQA+ young people in the community is critical for their wellbeing, yet 66% of LGBTIQA+ young people experience social exclusion.
Our Place was developed to empower LGBTIQA+ young people, to help them cope with daily stressors, recognise their abilities, and contribute to their community.
The Our Place project was created by young LGBTIQA+ people, informed by insights from their peers.
The program embraces diversity and encourages community inclusion by providing a safe environment for young people to explore and discuss gender and sexuality concepts. Our Place hosts weekly workshops, including artwork, video games, and self-care activities. The program also offers a sensory-safe space to relax and connect with other LGBTIQA+ young people. Our Place is free for all LGBTIQA+ young people to attend.
In this supportive, non-judgmental environment, LGBTIQA+ young people naturally develop the skills to cope with stress, while developing resilience and the use of coping behaviours to deal with daily stressors.