Indigenous young people lead new headspace campaign

A group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from across Australia have been chosen to develop a new national community awareness campaign for headspace and will travel to Melbourne next week to begin work on the project.

The campaign aims to improve mental health literacy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and increase the number coming to headspace for problems affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

headspace has a national network of 55 centres across metropolitan, regional and rural areas as well as online and telephone counselling service, eheadspace.

The group of 12 young people from around the country, including Elcho Island, Brisbane, Darwin, Broome and Perth, will come together for a week in Melbourne to work with headspace and its indigenous creative agency, Glimbaa.

The final product will be a targeted and culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing campaign that will encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to come to headspace when they need support.

Chris Tanti, headspace CEO, said for the campaign to be successful, it needs to be driven by young people.

"Depression, anxiety and suicide affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth at a higher rate than non-Indigenous young people, so it's imperative that we reach them in the right way, with the right messages," said Mr Tanti.

"Learning what young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need from the start, we can tailor something that will generate real outcomes," said Mr Tanti.

Nearly 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, between the ages of 18 and 25, applied to take part in the workshop and short-listed applicants took part in an interview where they outlined their interest in mental health and wellbeing, marketing, media and campaign development.

Mr Tanti said the organisation has a relatively high number of young people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander accessing headspace services.

"We know that young people in this group find headspace to be a welcoming and trustworthy place to go for their problems, but we also know there are many young people at risk we aren't reaching," said Mr Tanti.

During the week headspace will provide the young people with opportunities for skill development, training and mentoring in a range of areas including campaign development, media, marketing and mental health and wellbeing.

Mr Tanti said he hopes the young people will find the week a rewarding learning experience.

"We want to ensure the program resonates with and educates other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in communities across Australia as well as provide valuable skills and training to the group."

headspace media contact:

Carly Wright

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 55 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 to find a headspace centre or access help.