Embracing the theme of National Youth Week, ‘our voice, our impact’, a group of young people from South East Queensland met at headspace Inala today to present the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner, Dr Lesley Van Schoubroeck, with an artwork depicting their experiences of mental health.
The artwork was developed during a consultation held in December last year. The consultation gave young people from across Queensland a chance to provide their views on the current mental health system and to have input into the Queensland Mental Health Strategic Plan, currently in development by the Commission.
Young people were drawn from local youth reference groups from Queensland headspace Centres, including from Gold Coast, Inala, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay. The youth consultation was one of a series of consultations held across Queensland to gather the views of the broader community.
Dr Van Schoubroeck said ‘The ‘whole of government’ strategic plan will identify ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders and minimise the impact of substance misuse in our communities. It was important to have the views of young people represented in the plan.’
The strengths identified by the young people included acknowledging existing youth specific services that were accessible and affordable and included a focus on supporting families and friends.
A young person, (age 15), who was involved in the consultation said it was great to be able to meet with the Commissioner and share experiences first hand.
“There were a lot of young people being able to have a say and being able to look at what we thought were the main issues facing young people,” she said.
“Even though there were a lot of issues, we were able to come up with some top priorities. I was lucky that I had a positive experience of being able to get help, but not all young people have that experience.”
The young people shared that they would like to see a review of crisis services, access to services for longer periods of time, and improvements in health promotion particularly in school settings.
Chris Tanti, headspace CEO, said youth week is an opportunity to put young people in the spotlight and celebrate the contribution they are making in their communities.
“We know that mental health is the number one health issue facing young Australians so this youth week, we want to remind to young people that headspace services are available for 12 – 25 year olds no matter what issue that might be facing.”
Research shows that 75 per cent of mental health disorders emerge before the age of 25. By ensuring help is accessed in those early stages, young people can get things back on track and reduce the likelihood of developing a mental illness later in life.
headspace is a Commonwealth Government program with a growing national network of 65 centres across metropolitan, regional and rural areas. It is also supports young people via online and telephone counselling service, eheadspace.
Visit headspace.org.au for more information.