Why Mental Health First Aid is Vital for Geelong

 In MHFA, MHFAfSP, YMHFA

It’s no secret that Hero Town Geelong is closely focused on empowering the community in the Geelong and Surf Coast region, and beyond in Victoria and Australia. It’s quite literally in the name! Youth Mental Health First Aid was developed as part of the Rotary initiative to deliver Mental Health First Aid specifically for people working with youths and young people themselves. Considering that, it is important that we are aware of the need for such a program especially in the context of Australian youth.

The Context for YMHFA

In a report in 2010 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, some alarming numbers regarding the mental health of young people were brought to light. One in four young Australians between 16 and 24 years has a mental disorder. If that statistic was not distressing enough, these young people are more than 5 times as likely to use illicit drugs or misuse legal drugs, twice as likely to be current smokers, and 1.5 times more likely to drink alcohol weekly. The ABS writes:

While the prevalence of mental illness is relatively high in young people, they have a relatively low use of mental health services. Just under a quarter of young people with a mental disorder had used mental health services in the previous year.

This is especially bad news for organisations such as Headspace and Beyond Blue, which are specifically designed to appeal to young people experiencing mental health problems.

Within the Geelong and Surf Coast region

The Surf Coast Shire Youth Survey found that mental health services were one of the most needed services. Mental health was among the top three of young people’s major concerns to young people living on the Surf Coast, alongside school and bullying. This survey finds the same results as the ABS, with 84% of young people

Youth Mental Health First Aid

The MHFA mascot Algee with a play-doh lookalike

saying that they would not use online counselling services, and that one in ten said they did not have anyone to turn to in a crisis.

This is extremely distressing information, especially in a generation where access to information is so prominent. It was for this reason that courses targeted at addressing youth mental health issues were devised. These are referred to as Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), which is a course for adults on how to support young people, and Teen Mental Health First Aid (TMHFA) which focuses on teaching young people how to support one another.

What Can be Done to Help

In the Surf Coast Youth Survey, it was found that young people are more likely to seek help from their parents or friends more than any other service or person. This makes it especially important that young peoples’ guardians and peers are suitably equipped to handle these situations. One of the most effective ways that this can be achieved is by providing these parents and friends with the knowledge and resources through the delivery of award winning Mental Health First Aid courses.

With Geelong’s youth facing such pressing issues with regards to their mental health, now is the time to step forward and take action. So why not join the growing community of Mental Health First Aiders and sign up for YMHFA in Geelong today?

 

Steph Downing
Stephanie Downing is the administrative assistant for Hero Town Geelong. Born and raised in Geelong, Australia, Stephanie is a graduate of Deakin University with her Honours degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She adores words of all sorts and is especially infatuated with the medium of poetry and fiction, with publications of her work being featured in magazines such as WORDLY Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Cordite Poetry Review.
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