Powerful stories ignite mental health conversation during National Youth Week

Three compelling stories of young people who battle mental illness have been launched by headspace on the opening day of National Youth Week.

The stories, filmed in different parts of Australia, will draw attention to the necessity for early intervention in youth mental illness.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said the videos are a gateway for young to talk openly, honestly and without fear about any mental health issues.

“It’s an honour to be able to present these three powerful and compelling stories, and to share them with the whole country,” Mr Tanti said.

“National Youth Week is a celebration, and these videos are a celebration of what young people can do to overcome adversity.

“However this is also a vital reminder, that if a young person needs to seek help, or talk about something that is troubling them, then they should feel entirely comfortable to do so.”

The videos have been commissioned in partnership with REST Industry Super.

REST CEO Damian Hill said REST is proud to support headspace in its important work of helping young people share their stories.

“I think every young person with a story to tell can be inspired by the very personal and compelling experiences shared in this new series of videos from headspace,” he said.

The trio of young people who shared their stories form part of headspace’s Youth National Reference Group.

Sara Strachan is a 24-year-old from Berri in South Australia and wants to help reduce the stigma of mental illness.

“It helps to see someone who has gone through something and is now healthy and has a really great life. Sometimes people think that once you’ve got a mental illness it gets worse – but it can get a lot better.”

“This is a beautiful way of telling a story of mental illness. Specifically mine is around depression and anxiety and how to get through that – and what possible ways you can get there.”

Alesandro Donaugh De-Marchi, 22, from Campbelltown, NSW, said when people hear someone else talking about their own experience, it opens the door for them to speak themselves.

“The barrier that people face when they want to get help is they think they are the only onef going through something,” he said.

“Everyone is going through something, and these stories normalise it for people, and allow them to speak up.”

Natasha Jones, 22, from Melbourne, believes people need a better idea of the issues that young people with a disability face  - and that can include mental health issues.

“I want to show people that in a lot of ways people with a disability are just like everybody else,” she said.

“I also want to show people that despite the fact you have the disability and have been through all this stuff you can still be successful and it does gets better.”

A video complile for media of the three stories can be viewed here.

Alessandro, Natasha and Sara’s full stories can be viewed here.  

For high quality footage, download the files from drop box.

The statistics:

  • 15.4% of young people 16-24 have an anxiety disorder (ABS)
  • Distributed by gender: 9.3% of males and 21.7% of females in the 16-24 year bracket (ABS)
  • Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents (ABS)

If you are having a tough time contact headspace on 1800 650 890 or www.eheadspace.org.au.


headspace CEO Chris Tanti, headspace youth reference group member Alesandro Donagh-De Marchi and REST Industry Super CEO Damian Hill will be available to talk to the media at:

REST Industry Super

Level 7, 50 Carrington Street, Sydney

1.15pm Friday, April 8.

Media contact:

Michael Bennett, headspace Senior Corporate Communications Adviser Mob 0413 025 385