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Selfless Youth Focus supporters acknowledged

Youth Focus supporters who have made outstanding contributions to the youth suicide prevention cause in Western Australia have been honoured at a special ceremony marking the 2018 Make A Difference Awards.

Seven awards were presented to recipients from all walks of life at the State Reception Centre at Kings Park last night.

The annual Make A Difference Awards are presented to individuals and organisations who have displayed drive and compassion in their support of Youth Focus’ important work against youth suicide and by encouraging open conversations about mental health.

Youth Focus Acting Chief Executive Officer Raj Thethy said the value of community support that helped Youth Focus continue its important work could not be underestimated.

“Sadly, suicide continues to be the leading cause of death for young people in Australia. One young person is lost to suicide in WA each week,” Mr Thethy said.

Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with new statistics showing 51 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in WA in 2017. For every suicide, another 20 people attempt to take their own lives.

In addition, one in four young Australians live with a mental health condition, with 75 per cent of mental illnesses first appearing in people under the age of 25.

“Our supporters hail from all walks of life and play a key role in helping Youth Focus to connect and help with as many young people as we can,” Mr Thethy said.

“Last financial year, we helped almost 10,000 young people through our free counselling services and suicide prevention education programs.

“This is largely due to the unrelenting support of individuals, corporate sponsors and our staff who work tirelessly day in, day out to raise money, organise fundraising events, mentor young people and share awareness about youth suicide.

“Their contributions make positive differences to young people’s lives and have a meaningful impact on our community.”

Last financial year, Youth Focus supported a record number of young people in WA, providing free counselling and assessment services to 3678 young people and school and community education to another 6000.

If you or someone you know needs urgent support please contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.


2018 Youth Award: Raegan Piggott

Raegan Piggott has dedicated her time to helping other young people after enduring heartbreaking adversity – losing her mother to suicide and her own mental health struggles. Through sharing her story across a range of platforms, Raegan has promoted Youth Focus services, encouraged early intervention and raised awareness about positive mental health. She now volunteers her time as a member of the Youth Focus Youth Reference Group.

Employee Award: Claire Millar

Youth Focus designer Claire Millar epitomises the “can do” attitude to make a difference. Claire has been recognised for her commitment to Youth Focus and the cause, by consistently producing high quality designs that put the charity at the forefront of youth mental health in WA. Claire’s skills were tested in late 2017 with the Youth Focus rebrand, progress report and Make A Difference Awards happening at once. She worked tirelessly on rolling out the new Youth Focus brand across hundreds of applications and persevered through the challenge of having to create two versions of artwork for the Make A Difference Awards due to the reveal of the brand mid-event.

Community Award: Danielle Edwards

A mother of five, Danielle Edwards has been a stand-out advocate for Youth Focus since she first shared her experience of losing her 14-year-old son Terry to suicide as part of the Youth Focus summer fundraising campaign in December 2017. Dani is driven in her conviction to the suicide prevention cause and has used her personal story to raise awareness about youth mental health and Youth Focus services. In the past year she has supported Youth Focus at key events, including the 2018 Hawaiian Ride For Youth and a sponsor breakfast for MACA Limited. She now volunteers as a member on the new Youth Focus Carer Reference Group.

Community Award: Jimmy Cangy

A key member of the Ellenbrook community, Jimmy Cangy has been an active supporter of Youth Focus and headspace services in the City of Swan catchment. In 2017, he coordinated the Ellenbrook Young Men’s Project, which was funded by the City of Swan, and has led the implementation of the group’s Blind Chat concept, in which young people talk to a mate or community member. The idea morphed into a Blind Chat Café, which was successfully rolled out during RUOK? Day in September 2018.

Media Award: Karen Brown

Karen Brown is a high-level communications expert who has worked across media, business and politics. Now the national director at communications consultancy Cannings Purple, Karen has been an advocate for the Hawaiian Ride For Youth for three years and has served on the ride’s organising committee. She uses her wide professional and personal networks to raise awareness about the ride and foster media opportunities to help raise the profile of the event. Raised in regional WA, Karen understands the challenges of isolation and the impact of mental ill health on young lives.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Clough Foundation

Clough, through the Clough Foundation, has been a strong supporter of Youth Focus since 2014 with continued funding of the Year 9 mental health education program in WA schools. Clough’s long-term support has allowed Youth Focus to consistently deliver education programs in schools requiring mental health support and early intervention services to prevent youth suicide.

Geoff Rasmussen Corporate Citizen Award: Phil Renshaw

A long-time supporter of the Hawaiian Ride For Youth and voluntary chair of the ride’s organising committee, Phil Renshaw will saddle up for his ninth ride in 2019. Over the past eight years, Phil has single-handedly raised more than $70,000 to support Youth Focus services and was this year inducted into the ride’s Hall of Fame. Judges said: “Phil has always been very open about his reason for riding – he lost his brother to suicide and works to reduce the stigma of mental health by openly talking about it to the ride community and publicly.”

Youth Focus is an independent Western Australian not-for-profit working to reduce youth suicide. Through free, unlimited face-to-face individual counselling sessions and other valuable mental health services, Youth Focus works with young people aged from 12 to 25 helping them to overcome issues associated with depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443
[email protected]