headspace young people on mission to save Australian lives

Friends Charlie Cooper, 23, and Sara Strachan, 26, have had first-hand experience with mental health challenges of their own.

Now the pair have combined their own experience with professional training to teach others how to administer mental health first aid during emergencies.

The headspace youth advocates started their Australian mental health first aid tour in Melbourne followed by other parts of Victoria, and have so far travelled to Perth, Alice Springs and Adelaide.

Over the next year they will cover all corners of Australia and train over 1000 young people.
Charlie Cooper said on average one in four young people will experience a mental health issue in the coming 12 months.

“In many cases that person won’t know how to seek help. If the situation escalates, being properly equipped with the right mental health skills can save someone’s life,” he said.

Sara Strachan said the training was crucial to teach young people how to help friends, family, or members of the public.

“The training has the potential to save lives, it means we will have young people across the country with the skills and knowledge to be aware of the warning signs,” she said.

The initiative has been funded by Viva Energy Australia,the largest corporate partner of headspace, with the training implemented by Mental Health First Aid Australia.

Sara and Charlie YMHFAT 3
Viva Energy Australia CEO Scott Wyatt said that his company was proud of its partnership with headspace and is pleased to support this initiative.

“A number of our own employees have completed similar training and we believe it will greatly benefit the young people taking part,” Mr Wyatt said.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said the training administered by the headspace youth advocates, was developed in Australia and is now internationally recognised.

“This mental health first aid training not only saves lives but is effective in improving mental health literacy, reducing stigma and increasing help seeking,” he said.

Key areas of youth mental health first aid training include:

  • how to provide mental health first aid in a crisis situation;
  • signs and symptoms of common and immobilising mental health problems in young people;
  • where and how to get help when a young person is developing a mental illness,
  • what sort of help has been shown by research to effective; and
  • adolescent development.

“Through Viva Energy and their commitment to empowering and educating young people to be active role models in the community, this training will greatly benefit so many young people now, and into the future,” Charlie said.

If you or someone you know is going through a tough time, visit headspace.org.au to find useful resources and to locate your nearest centre.

Check out this video from the young people involved with the Youth Mental Health First Aid Training:
Media contact:
Michael Bennett
headspace Media and Communications Manager
0413 025 385