Yarn Safe at headspace Kalgoorlie
On Friday November 20th headspace Kalgoorlie will launch the second phase of the Yarn Safe campaign at an invite-only event that will also celebrate the first-year results of the youth-led national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth mental health initiative.
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 from 7.7 per cent to 8 per cent. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12-25 represent 4 per cent of the Australian population.
headspace Kalgoorlie spokesperson and Hope Community Services Goldfields Regional Manager, Chelsea Hunter, said the campaign was helping to remove the barriers stopping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth accessing support when they are going through a tough time.
“Yarn Safe has provided a culturally secure space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people visiting our centre,” Ms Hunter said. “This is extremely pleasing but we know that there is a lot more to be done in this space and we are committed to continuing this important work.
“We are particularly grateful for the support and advice we have received working in partnership with Bega Garnbirringu Aboriginal Health Service.
“Mental health and other issues affect a number of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island youth using our centre. We will continue devising ways to address this and other issues affecting those who use our resources and services.”
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.