Learn more about the Prevention & Promotion Award Finalists
This Award presented by Lifeline recognises an outstanding contribution to prevention and/or promotion in mental health.
Youth Focus delivers free and accessible counselling services to young people aged 12 to 25 not only to reduce symptoms associated with suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm, but also to build long-term mental wellbeing and help young people reach their full potential.
Youth Focus also engages with communities to educate and build awareness about mental health issues and suicide prevention. As part of this engagement, it delivers education programs in schools and communities across Western Australia.
Youth Focus services include face-to-face and web counselling; in-school, workplace and community education programs; peer support programs; and youth mentoring.
Youth Focus has been providing the impactful Having a Conversation about Mental Health program in school communities for the past seven years. Through the program, Youth Focus shares important knowledge and skills so young people, parents and educators can recognise mental health challenges and deal with them before they become acute.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with latest statistics showing 51 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in WA in 2017. For every suicide, another 20 people attempt to take their own lives.
Research shows that 75 per cent of all mental illnesses first appear in people under the age of 25 so it is important we work to create supportive communities. The Youth Focus schools program has been developed for Year 9 students, teachers, parents and the wider community.
The program was initially set up to increase the level of mental health literacy in each school community. The purpose of the workshop is to give students the confidence to seek a second opinion from a trusted adult.
In many cases, this newfound confidence, developed from our workshop, has allowed young people to talk about their mental health, seek help and reduce the likelihood of suicide.
Our program outlines the relationship of being both physically and mentally healthy, how emotions can rule our lives, the reason why mental health conditions can begin before the age of 25 due to brain development, how to have a conversation about mental health and who a young people can turn to for help.
Mentally Healthy WA
Mentally Healthy WA operates the well-established mental health promotion campaign Act-Belong-Commit, which has continued to grow in reach and impact as it helps to change attitudes towards mental health and reducing stigma towards mental illness by encouraging people to be more open about mental health issues and inspiring people to engage in activities that strengthen their mental well-being.
Using a structured partnership model involving 270+ partners across Schools, Community, Associates and International organisations, we raise awareness and encourage participation in activities promoting good mental health, strengthen individual resilience, reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and build more mentally healthy communities.
For over ten years, the Act-Belong-Commit mental health promotion campaign has been encouraging Western Australians to look after their mental health.
The campaign continues to make an impact, striking a chord with people of all backgrounds and helping to change attitudes towards mental illness, all while motivating individuals and communities to actively do things to improve their mental health. The development of a range of programs has significantly extended and expanded the campaign’s reach to sub-populations, including Aboriginal communities, people in recovery, young people, whole of school and regional communities throughout WA.
Prior to the Act-Belong-Commit campaign, most mental health promotion and illness prevention activities were focused on early intervention, that is, working with people once the early signs of mental illness are present, rather than trying to prevent them in the first place. Act-Belong-Commit applies across the whole promotion and prevention spectrum.
Through the Act-Belong-Commit campaign, Mentally Healthy WA runs the Mentally Healthy Schools Program, Aboriginal (Standing Strong Together), Youth Connectors, and Pilbara Capacity Building programs, as well as fostering local, national and global partnerships.
Befriend is a Perth-based non-profit social enterprise with a niche focus on social inclusion, supporting the development of natural relationships and community connections as a key determinant of health and wellbeing. Practically, this looks like a Perth-wide network of inclusive, welcoming social gatherings where individuals can share hobbies, spark new connections and develop healthy friendships. Its existence is built on the premise that everyone has a right - and inherent need - to be an active, contributing citizen and play a valued role as a neighbour, friend and member of society.
It all started in 2010 with an email sent to the Occupational Therapy School at Curtin University, where founder and CEO, Nick Maisey was studying. A lonely young man by the name of Tim bravely reached out to see if any students would like to meet and get to know him. Nick responded, and it was through getting to know Tim and how he’d come to find himself friendless and unhappy at the age of 23, that the idea for Befriend was sparked. As it turned out, Tim had a disability, and frequently found himself isolated from social environments, often just being perceived as ‘the disabled guy’. After some exploration and further discovery, Nick realised there were many disconnected and isolated people in Perth, and that it was having a significant negative impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing. He developed a keen interest in how to mobilise community members to take action locally to support the development of natural, freely-given relationships that exist in genuine ways for people beyond the boundaries of services.
This network is now a community of more than 9,500 members and 154 Hosts, all of whom come together at over 150 events every month; a figure that has just continued to grow year on year, as social isolation has become a serious topic of discussion within the health sector. Last year alone (2018) there were 2761 individuals attending nearly 500 events around Perth. Befriend has connected more than 13,000 people in Perth through more than 8,000 social gatherings since founding in 2010.
In 2010, Nick started Befriend by holding barbecues in his local park with an open invitation for all to join. Over the next few years, volunteers joined Nick, hosting casual social gatherings like coffee catch-ups, riverside pet-walks, pub hangouts, volleyball games, Sea-Shanty singing nights, knitting and crocheting clubs, book swaps and everything in between. What makes these events special is their welcoming and inclusive atmosphere; a non-judgemental space.