By Eric Martin and Katie Walker
Despite the vast leaps forwards in mental health strategies executed on a state and national level, suicide still remains one of the leading causes of death in Australia.
Statistically, eight people a day take their own life – with depression, one of the primary causes, affecting 6.2 per cent of Australians.
According to the latest figures available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2014-15 there were four million Australians (17.5 per cent of the population) who reported having a mental or behavioural condition, with anxiety-related conditions most frequently reported (2.6 million people or 11.2 per cent of the population) followed by mood (affective) disorders such as depression (2.1 million people or 9.3 per cent).
This research suggests that roughly half of the people who will experience either bipolar or a depressive disorder will have had an episode by the age of 25.
As such, the Young Christian Workers (YCW) Perth team have an immensely strong focus on mental health, dedicated to reaching and influencing the lives of teenagers and young adults in our city as a force for positive, Christ-centred change.
YCW Perth is organising a Mental Health Development Camp for November 2020, which aims to educate and encourage young people in the Archdiocese of Perth to show support for people who may be suffering from mental illness, and direct them to seek professional help.
The camp is a response to this year’s successful two-day course on Mental First Aid Training (MHFA) for young people, held in July at the Australian Red Cross Office in East Perth and officially sponsored by the Knights of the Southern Cross (Branch 28).
According to participants, the experience was informative and constructive, enhanced by the remarkable Red Cross staff member who balanced the course with passion, sensitivity and tailored the content to the attendees’ experiences.
The training taught the 15 young first aiders how to appropriately, safely and effectively approach dangerous situations such as self-harm, suicide, psychosis, drug and substance abuse and PSTD, as well as emphasising the importance of empathy and sympathy when dealing with others who may be suffering from a mental illness.
A key aspect of the training was an exploration of the ALGEE method, a step-by-step acronym which guides participants through the process of providing Mental health First Aid.
The ALGEE method is:
- Approach, assist and asses
- Listen non-judgementally
- Give support and information
- Encourage professional and appropriate help
- Encourage other support
The YCW camp will be a unique opportunity for interested young people to gain the skills, confidence and knowledge to approach and assist someone who is experiencing the debilitating effects of a serious mental health disorder.
If you are interested in this camp, search “Young Christian Workers Perth” on Facebook or Instagram for more details.
Catholic Youth Network is an integral part of Catholic Youth Ministry, the official agency supporting and promoting youth ministry in the Perth Archdiocese, with the aim of assisting young adults to build a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus and to help them find their place in the Church and the world.