Yarn Safe launch Thursday 29 October 2015

Melyka Yarn Safe

 

BATHURST’S very own young people will star in the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health campaign, Yarn Safe, and will help launch the second phase of the headspace initiative at a community event at the headspace Bathurst centre on Thursday 29th October 2015.

Melyka Sommer, 20, from Bathurst, features on Yarn Safe posters and postcards being distributed around Australia to tell young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth there’s no shame in talking about problems affecting their mental health and wellbeing. 

“Yarning and passing down traditions is a huge part of our Aboriginal culture. Through Yarn Safe we hope to get our Aboriginal youth talking about mental health issues, raising awareness surrounding mental health, stopping stigma and showing them there are places here to help. Mental health doesn’t discriminate and neither does headspace,” said Sommer from Wailwan tribe, Quambone.

The national headspace Yarn Safe campaign has seen a dramatic 32 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people accessing headspace centres in the 12 months since the campaign launched.

Phase two of the campaign will delve deeper into the issues commonly faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people such as stress and pressure; family and relationships; racism and drugs and alcohol.

There will be new health promotion resources for young people and importantly cultural training is being provided to select headspace staff nationally to ensure that young people receive a culturally appropriate service.

In the 12 months since the campaign launch, the proportion of young people receiving services at headspace centres who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander increased to 8 per cent. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12-25 represent 4 per cent of the Australian population.

headspace Bathurst Operations Manager, Peter Rohr, said “The campaign is helping to remove the barriers stopping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth accessing support when they are going through a tough time.”

Yarn Safe was developed with a group of 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from across Australia, including Broome, Elcho Island, Darwin, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and encourages young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to seek help at headspace, or other appropriate mental health services.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said the unprecedented response to Yarn Safe was great, but more work needed to be done to address the disproportionate burden of mental health disorders among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

“We are thrilled by the success of the Yarn Safe campaign so far, driven by the outreach work of headspace centres and important partnerships across Australia,” Mr Tanti said. “Overwhelmingly, these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people feel that headspace is a culturally safe place.

“However, addressing the needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people is an organisational-wide ongoing commitment to partnership with communities and culturally sensitive practice, including evaluation to ensure that many more young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel comfortable to talk with us.”

“We’ve created a targeted and culturally appropriate initiative that will, I believe, continue to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to access the help available for all young Australians.”

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report 2011 showed in 2008 almost one-third of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (aged 16-24 years) had high or very high level of psychological stress – more than twice the rate of young non-Indigenous Australians.

Increasingly, research findings suggest that early intervention can prevent the worsening of mental health problems.  

NOTE TO MEDIA:

Date: Thursday 29 October 2015

Time: 4pm - 6pm

Location: headspace Bathurst Corner Havannah and Piper St

RSVP by 26 October 2015 to karen.golland@marathonhealth.com.au

headspace media contact: Carly Wright – 0413025385 -  cwright@headspace.org.au

About headspace

The primary focus of headspace is the mental health and wellbeing of young Australians. headspace helps 12 – 25 year olds going through a tough time through a national network of 70 headspace centres (soon to be 100) and online and telephone counselling service eheadspace.

headspace can help young people with general health, mental health, education and employment and alcohol and other drug services.

headspace was established and funded by the Commonwealth Government of Australia in 2006.

Visit headspace.org.au to find a headspace centre or access help