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Youth Focus offers support for young people

Youth Focus has reminded young people that mental health support is available, in the wake of the death of Perth football talent Shane Yarran.

Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Fiona Kalaf offered heartfelt condolences to Mr Yarran’s family, friends, colleagues at the Fremantle Football Club, the WAFL and wider football fraternity after news of his death yesterday.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Shane Yarran and our hearts go out to his family, friends and peers in the football community at this time,” Ms Kalaf said.

“I would like to remind young people facing mental health challenges that they are not alone. Youth Focus is here and ready to support young people who need help and support in their mental health journey.

“Youth Focus is committed to providing free, unlimited counselling services to young people and suicide prevention education to the wider community to help reduce the unacceptably high toll of people taking their own lives.”

Latest statistics show 54 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in Western Australia in 2016. 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.

“Statistics show that at least one young person each week will take their own life,” Ms Kalaf said.

“That means at least one family every week will be forced to deal with the abject grief, guilt and pain of losing a loved one unnecessarily to suicide,” Ms Kalaf said.

“The ripple effect in our community is profound.”

Youth Focus has partnered with Fremantle Football Club as a Friend of the Foundation for 2018 to raise awareness about youth mental health and important community events, including the Young Men’s Project.

Today, around 50 young men from the Peel region will to join the Young Men’s Project – a large-scale community forum in Mandurah that works to help turn the tide on the high number of young men taking their own lives.

The group, aged between 18 and 25, will collaborate on ideas, projects and events designed to make it easier for their peer group to seek help and shift the way they think about mental health issues.

Concerned by the number of men killing themselves, Youth Focus established the Young Men’s Project in 2013 to encourage young males to work together on insightful and effective suicide prevention concepts.

“We know young men in Australia are three times more likely to take their own lives than young women,” Ms Kalaf said.

“That is why it is so important that young men have the skills and know-how to engage in conversations about mental health and realise it is OK to let those closest to them know if they are doing it tough.

“The Young Men’s Project is about creating a space where young men can openly discuss and prototype mental health strategies relevant to their own communities.”

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.

Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443
[email protected]