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Recognition for youth mental health changemakers 

The WA Youth Awards and the WA Mental Health Awards finalists have been announced, and we’re thrilled to see some very familiar faces amongst them.

Members of our headspace Midland Youth Reference Group, twins Katrina and Kassandra, are finalists for the WA Youth Awards’ Mercy Care Positive Achievement Award, in recognition of their advocacy in the mental health space.

This award recognises the accomplishments of young people with lived experience, who have worked through significant challenges, changed attitudes and elevated their peers.

We’re so proud to see their work recognised and celebrated. Katrina and Kassandra are both inspiring young people, who have used their experience to create meaningful change for young people in WA.

We’re also proud to announce that Youth Focus Great Southern manager Dr Andrew Wenzel is a finalist in the WA Mental Health Awards, in the category of Lotterywest Employee or Volunteer Excellence. This award recognises an outstanding contribution to mental health in WA by an individual employed or volunteering within WA’s mental health sector.

Andrew has led Youth Focus Great Southern and headspace Albany since 2009, and is passionate about advocating and innovating for youth mental health. He’s constantly searching for ways to better support young people, and to create a community in which young people are able to thrive in their lives and achieve their goals.

When asked to reflect on what’s most rewarding about the work he does, Andrew said: “I’m proud of being able to see the stories where we’ve had a hand in helping young people rewrite their lives for the better.”

In yet more excitement, Our Place has been chosen as a finalist for the Roshana Care Group Diversity Award at the WA Mental Health Awards.

A collaboration between headspace Midland, Youth Focus and City of Swan, Our Place is an ongoing weekly social drop-in program and youth committee for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual, plus other sexually and gender diverse people (LGBTIQA+) aged 12 to 25 in WA.

It’s a safe space, in the true sense of the term, developed to empower LGBTIQA+ young people, to help them cope with daily stressors, recognise their abilities, and contribute to their community.

Last – but definitely not least – we’re so proud to share that Youth Focus Board Member, Professor Ashleigh Lin, is a finalist for the Minister’s Award in the upcoming WA Mental Health Awards.

The Minister’s Award recognises someone who has displayed best practice at every level, a true dedication to service in the mental health sector, and holds an all-round skillset to benefit the outcomes for people living with mental health challenges in our community.

Professor Ashleigh Lin is one of WA’s leading youth mental health researchers. Her work particularly focuses on the mental health of marginalised groups, including LGBTQA+ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. Prof Lin is passionate about addressing the challenges and barriers that young people face to accessing mental health services and support.

We’re inspired by Prof Lin’s commitment to creating positive change. Congratulations!

The WA Youth Awards are held on Friday, October 27 and the WA Mental Health Awards on Thursday, November 23.