The Yarn Safe Story

Yarn Safe was the first youth led national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health campaign of its kind. It was developed in September 2014 with the help of 12 incredible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from across Australia, who have continued to be involved in the campaign development. 

The campaign was launched in local communities across Australia with a range of material and merchandise distributed across headspace centres, reinforcing the message and letting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know that headspace was there to help and there was no shame in talking it out.

Following the release of the campaign, headspace saw a dramatic 32 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people accessing support at its centres.

Find out more about the campaign below.

Behind the scenes

The Making of Yarn Safe

headspace believes in giving young people the opportunity to provide input into all aspects of our services. For this project headspace worked with a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from across Australia and the Indigenous specific advertising agency, Gilimbaa, to develop this campaign. 

12 young people have attended several workshops throughout the life of the campaign. The workshops were initially learning about headspace, marketing and health promotion in order to develop a culturally appropriate campaign. Following the launch of Yarn Safe at the end of 2014, a further workshop was conducted to review the campaign and work together on next steps for the launch of the second wave of the campaign in October 2015.

The campaign aims are to increase the awareness of headspace as a place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to seek information, help and support.

group

Themes

Common themes emerged from the workshop including:
  • The lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and the issues they are facing are many and varied, complicated and serious
  • Mental health is having dramatic and devastating effects on communities across the country, from cities to remote areas
  • There is shame around asking for help
  • There is stigma around the language used in mental health
Key themes emerged around critical areas related to health and wellbeing:
  • identity
  • culture
  • relationships
  • responsibility
  • stress and pressure
  • alcohol and other drugs
  • family
  • racism
  • community

Priorities

Key priorities were identified:
  • create a campaign that connected and resonated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people specifically
  • empower and strengthen young people by shining light on the complexities of their life, and the immense pressure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people often face
  • introduce headspace as a safe place to get support
  • show the story of what's going on for young people and the strength and resilience required to overcome all sorts of obstacles
  • strength and pride of culture in presentation of all messages is pivotal
  • show real young people in their environment
 
'life mess' showcase the different issues, positive and negative, that young people face. 
These priorities and key themes led to key components of the campaign structure:
  • a songline showing strength of culture
  • diverse landscapes
  • different young people in their communities
  • headspace - your space - yarnsafe as the tagline

The initial campaign was launched in September 2014.

Phase one wrap up

Yarn Safe Phase 1 wrap up
 
  • 59% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is under 25
  • headspace wanted to make a difference. How? We spoke to the experts and established a Youth Working Group. The group identified key areas to address: stress and pressure, drugs and alcohol, racism, family and relationships.
  • Key considerations the campaign had to be: real, relatable, strong, cultural, diverse and engaging.
  • The result: Yarn Safe. No shame in talking it out. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Campaign.
  • Over 20 locations were visited to collect video and photo content to build the campaign. We needed a variety of landscapes and people to represent the diversity of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. 
  • A national rollout: Yarn Safe was successfully launched in local communities across Australia. A range of material and merchandise was distributed across the centres reinforcing the campaign messaging and letting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know that headspace was there to help and the were was no shame in talking it out. 
  • 'Got a lot going on' original song and music video. As part of the campaign, headspace alongside Gilimbaa and Indigenous Hip Hop Project travelled to remote communities and ran workshops to create an original hip hop song and video clip. This involved Philly, 2013 National Indigenous Music Awards New Talent of the Year winner. 
  • The 'Got a lot going on' clip has been viewed over 510,000 times.
  • AFL Stars Cyril Rioli, Chad Wingard and Neville Jetta supported the campaign.
  • The Stats: Did the campaign work? 98% of young people felt it was culturally appropriate ahd had a positive attitude towards headspace.
  • In the 12 months since the campaign launched there has been a 32% increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people accessing headspace centres. 

In addition to the Yarn Safe campaign launch, headspace, along with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP) and creative agency Gilimbaa, travelled to remote communities in the Northern Territory and ran workshops to create an original hip hop song and video clip. This involved Philly, 2013 National Indigenous Music Awards New Talent of the Year winner.

The hip hop video, written and performed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, captured the broad range of issues they are facing, including racism, stress, drugs and isolation, but stresses there is 'no shame in talking it'.

So far through multiple social media channels the video has been viewed over half a million times. Watch the video below.

In October 2015, Yarn Safe moved in to the second phase, aiming to continue to raise awareness of mental health issues and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to seek help at headspace, or other appropriate mental health services. Phase two of the campaign delved 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.

Resources have since been developed to help young mob identify and deal with these issues. 

YARN SAFE H18

YARNSAFE H19

YARN SAFE D2

YARN SAFE D5