Recent local statistics confirm one in four young people on the Mornington Peninsula experience depression symptoms significant enough, they require a medication solution. This 25% rate is well above the national average which is troubling when you consider there are no obvious reasons why such a high proportion of our young people are affected. Further, we have a relatively high suicide rate, particular in young men.
Peninsula Voice facilitated this important public forum with the aim to educate our community about youth mental health illness and to provide practical information on both how to care for and where to find help from service providers on the Mornington Peninsula.
An expert panel was convened which included world-leading researcher in the area of early psychosis and youth mental health and former Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry, Psychologist, Dr Diane McGreal and Headspace Senior Social Worker and Co-Ordinator, Peter Dawson.
Local kindergarten teacher, Kerri McMillan also shared her harrowing personal story of losing her eldest teenage son Sam, to suicide.
This issue obviously resonated with many with over 500 people attending the forum. All local newspapers ran articles on youth mental health illness and the ABC AM radio program reported on the event National the next day, see attached Podcast link.
This conversation and forum resonated with all, providing many positive and helpful ideas for how families can help young people negotiate the teenage years. Peter Dawson spoke at length of the Headspace education model of a mental health first aid kit which is being rolled out nationally for young people. Dr Di McGeal also spoke passionately on what parents and family can do to stay actively engaged with their children, ready to provide support when needed.
We were also advised following our event, Flinders Member of Parliament and National Health Minister Greg Hunt who has a passionate interest in Mental Health and Professor Patrick McGorrie, both contributors in our event, held a private meeting in Canberra the following week.
Thank you to our Event Partners for the evening
Some great material from the event