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Young changemakers shine at WA Youth Awards

The 2023 WA Youth Awards were a celebration of WA’s outstanding young people.  

Members of our headspace Midland Youth Reference Group, twins Katrina and Kassandra were finalists in 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.  

Katrina and Kassandra have navigated a challenging journey marked by significant mental health issues during their adolescence.  

Katrina and Kassandra have recovered and used their experiences as a powerful catalyst for change. They both are active youth advisors for headspace Midland and Lifeline, and are serving as accredited suicide crisis supporters at Lifeline. They are both passionate advocates for youth mental health and tirelessly promote the importance of early intervention and prevention services.   

In true twin style, Katrina and Kassandra have both completed their Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree and are finishing up their Honours degree in Psychology. They are now both pursuing PhDs in the field of mental health in hopes of supporting youth mental health, challenging stigma, and promoting help-seeking behaviours. Kassandra says: “For a long time, we knew there needed to be a change in the way our society views mental illnesses in young people. However, something in us was ignited when we realised, we could be the change we so desperately sought. Our lived experiences have fuelled a passion in us to pursue a career in the mental health field.”   

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.  

Youth Focus was also honoured to sponsor the Sector Collaboration Award, which was won by Home Stretch WA Community of Practice.

Home Stretch WA is a program that supports young people leaving Out of Home Care in Western Australia, with the option to continue to receive support up until the age of 21. The program is implemented by the Department of Communities in partnership with Anglicare WA and Yorganop, facilitating the Community of Practice (CoP) function.

Youth Focus’ manager in Peel and the Southwest, Mark Barrett-Lennard, was privileged to be one of the judges for this award category. According to Mark, the generosity, energy and enthusiasm of all finalists was inspirational, and displayed the strength and commitment each brought to contributing to positive social change for young people. 

“The work of the winning nominee, Home Stretch WA Community of Practice, was breathtaking in ambition and scale, and groundbreaking in its collaboration with lived experience and Aboriginal community-controlled organisations,” Mark added.