Community organisations come together for aboriginal youth

SWAMS logistics officer Wade Garwood, headspace Bunbury community engagement officer Penny McCall and Red Cross youth officers Jocelyn Worrigal and Maxwell Jetta.
SWAMS logistics officer Wade Garwood, headspace Bunbury community engagement officer Penny McCall and Red Cross youth officers Jocelyn Worrigal and Maxwell Jetta.

Five South West community organisations are joining forces to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal youth aged 12 to 25 in Bunbury.

Youth Standing Up will be launched on February 7 at the Bunbury PCYC as a collaboration between the South West Aboriginal Medical Service, headspace Bunbury, Red Cross and Goomburrup Aboriginal Corporation.

The program is the first of its kind in aiming to re-engage Aboriginal youth and decrease substance abuse throughout the region.

SWAMS health promotion and project manager Nicole Bowser said it was about providing a safe and fun space for aboriginal youth to come to every week.

“We’re hoping this youth program will act as a building block to further develop youth programs in the region and will fill a much needed gap in our community,” she said. 

“The project overall is about increasing the capacity for youth to look for employment, training and work experience opportunities as well as taking care of themselves in regards to mental health, sexual health, alcohol and other drug use.

“People from different agencies will be here for the opening day and we’ll be chatting to youth about what they see as being part of a youth program and what they would want to come to in future.” 

headspace Bunbury community engagement officer Penny McCall said it was important to create a sustainable approach with services working together.

“We are very excited because we’ve never been involved with anything like this before,” she said.

“headspace will be attending each program to show our face and also be a support to get young people used to what we do and be a friendly face so they will be more likely to seek help if they feel the need.”

Red Cross youth health and wellbeing officer Jocelyn Worrigal said she hoped the program would lead to less substance abuse and help to re-engage aboriginal youth getting back into school and the work place. 

“We want the youth to drive the program and take ownership of it, it’s something that they can be proud of,” she said. For more information contact 9791 1166.