IT was a packed house at the Medowie Community Centre last week for the Youth Mental Health Forum 2017.
This event was proudly hosted by the Port Stephens Council Youth Advisory Panel.
Students from all local high schools were invited, along with mental health stakeholders and representatives.
Attendees were asked to discuss the key recommendations from the mental health study ordered by Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth (COPSY), funded by the Port Stephens Council and the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network.
The study focused on more than 10,000 children and young people aged 12-24 years in the Port Stephens Local Government Area.
The research team found that the the study highlighted the most common issues for young people are anxiety, depression and drug use.
The forum had a guest speaker, Nic Newling, speak to the attendees, delivering an impassioned speech and motivating the students to speak up and speak out.
Nic Newling lived through the experience of suffering with a mood disorder throughout high school and losing his brother to suicide.
He has since dedicated himself to changing the way mental illness is addressed in schools, workplaces, and communities. Nic has reached millions of people through television, live talks, radio, print, online, documentaries, and eHealth programs.
Students worked hard during the busy, information-filled day, and came up with invaluable insights.
Port Stephens Youth Advisory Panel representative Mahaylia Soars told News Of The Area, “Mental Health is so very important.”
“Whilst it is becoming more socially acceptable to talk about these things, we need to keep working hard to ensure this comfortability to ask for support continues.”
“I want all young people to feel confident about speaking out about their mental health, and asking for help if they need it,” she said.
For anyone interested in joining the Port Stephens Youth Advisory Panel, they are always looking for new members.
Please contact Ryan Mouthaan Port Stephens Council Community Development and Engagement officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rachael VAUGHAN