One in seven young men aged between 16 and 24 experience depression or anxiety each year – yet a meagre 13% seek help. Furthermore, suicide is the leading cause of death for young men in Australia.
This week, 6 October was headspace Day – a National Day of Support for the mental health and wellbeing of all young Australians. And this year we urge young people in our region to start taking small, everyday steps to support their mental health and wellbeing.
To mark the occasion and find innovative ways to support young men’s health, headspace Maroochydore and their lead agency Youturn Youth Support, together with Kawana Shoppingworld have organised an urban art group activity for young men (12 – 25 years).
Collaborating with well-known urban artist Sarah Sculley and Aboriginal portrait artist, Jandamarra Cadd, a group of young men have created a visual story full of symbolism on connection and community, blending First Nations and contemporary styles.
The mural, located along the Nicklin Way, next to Big W, will depict a vibrant colour palette which reflects youth, energy and positivity, and features Kawana wild flowers along the coast and Hinterland region. The central focus and hero image of hands reaching out, represents the idea of connection and community.
It is well known art is beneficial for wellbeing explains Susan Beaton, the mural project coordinator and Donor Relations Manager at Youturn and headspace Maroochydore.
“Art helps us to explore and interpret our stories, share and learn more about how other people see the world. Participation in art activities helps expand our networks, strengthen our social bonds and bring our communities closer together – the foundations for wellbeing”, said Susan Beaton.
Youturn Youth Support is the lead agency for five headspace Centres in SE Queensland and CEO, Dr Tanya Bell, confirms youth mental health services are in demand.
“This last financial year our headspace centres, supported 5,400 young people and provided almost 21,000 appointments.
“We are noticing a marked rise in anxiety and school disengagement with young people reporting feeling anxious, unsupported or disconnected with feelings of isolation, resulting in, low moods and motivation, unemployment and further mental health challenges” Dr Bell explains.
The rental crisis on the Sunshine Coast is another major impact on the mental health of young people, who report heightened anxiety about living arrangements, lockdowns forcing loss of work/shifts and the uncertainty around travel and seeing family.
Young people are encouraged to reach out to someone when they are going through a tough time, explains Dr Tanya Bell.
“This headspace Day, we want young people to know there is always someone to talk to – be it a trusted adult in your life, a friend, a family member or a service like headspace. You don’t need to go it alone, she said.
“Through initiatives like this Urban Art project, we aim to help build resilience, develop social connections, and inspire young men to talk openly and have a voice on issues important to them.
Youturn is grateful to community partners and donors giving to the Kawana mural project explains Susan Beaton.
“We would like to acknowledge and thank Kawana Shoppingworld for supporting this initiative, as well as paint sponsors – Haymes, Montana and PaintRight Maroochydore, for their donations to bring this project to life.
“We hope that shoppers, visitors and those driving past Kawana Shoppingworld will not only enjoy the artwork but be inspired to reach out and connect with others in our community in challenging times”, said Beaton.
Commenting on the art project, Kawana Shoppingworld Centre Manager, Robert Smith: “Kawana Shoppingworld is a trusted community meeting place and our partnership with headspace Maroochydore and Youturn is one we are incredibly passionate about. We want all visitors to the centre to feel welcome, safe and included and I hope this incredible artwork, created by our local youth and celebrating this fantastic region, will encourage connection and conversation for everyone.”
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Notes to the editor:
Mental Health Statistics:
- The headspace call to action follows the release of new headspace research that shows more than half of young Queenslanders still deal with personal problems on their own, rather than speaking to someone (52%). The headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey also found three in five young people feel there is still stigma around seeking help for a mental illness (63%).
- This last year, 1 in 5 young people say they’re struggling with their mental health* (Australia Talks National Survey 2021)
- Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25.*)The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents, Department of Health.)
Youturn is a not-for-profit charity based at Tewantin that was started over 30 years ago to help address youth homelessness in the Noosa region. Since then, the organisation has grown substantially working with young people and those that support them, expanding their focus to include Child Safety, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and of course Homelessness.
Their humble beginnings started as a Youth Homelessness grass roots project in 1989 with the Noosa Accommodation Project (NAP) which was officially launched by 5 volunteers supporting six young people. They have grown significantly since then to work at 14 locations across South East Queensland with a staff base of 160 employees and last year helped over 8,600 people.
Youturn Youth Support media contact
Media, Communications and Events Manager
Mob: 0474 421 100