For the third consecutive year, the 3 Tier Youth Mental Health Program is being offered to Year 10 students in the Warren Blackwood region. The program has grown since it was piloted in 2016, with 159 students from six high schools attending the Tier 1 launch at Manjimup Senior High School last week. The Three Tier Youth Mental Health Program has been designed by GP down south and is a unique approach to the complex issues of youth mental health and youth suicide, encompassing mental health awareness, prevention and intervention for secondary school students. The program targets young people in their own communities, and aims to break down a number of barriers that impact on young people seeking help, including cost, accessibility and fear of confidentiality being broken in small communities. Recent reports have indicated that the prevalence of mental ill-health is growing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed a 10% increase in the number of people who took their own lives in WA from 2016 – 2017 – higher than the national average. It is also the cause of over 30% of deaths among youth aged 15 -24. It is not easy to identify those who will suicide. Therefore, programs offering preventative skills to young people and giving them the tools to move through dark times is key in reducing these alarming statistics. Students at the Tier 1 launch in 2018 reported an improvement in awareness of strategies to support mental health and wellbeing with 40% of students reporting an improvement in willingness to seek help for themselves . Empowering young people to talk about mental health issues and seek help is a huge step forward. As well as helping students, the program is strengthening links in the community to help provide a stronger scaffold for youth needing support. Bridgetown High responded that, it is better able to meet the mental health needs of their students after being involved in 3 Tier and that there is a need to work on building the capacity and number of Mental Health Services & related support services to ensure that support is geared towards timely and ongoing support to achieve the best possible results for families. There needs to be more time and more flexibility, capacity and cooperation with services to continue to improve access and support to our young people. “My knowledge is growing as the 3 Tier Youth Mental Health Program grows and as we review its impact and ensure it continues to improve and work towards its future sustainability.” The program continues to grow and develop in the Warren Blackwood with plans to include a new project as part of the 3 Tier 2019 program. Funding for the program has been provided by Western Australian Primary Health Alliance, Primary Health Network. If you would like to contribute, please go to the GP down south website homepage and click on the ‘donate’ button. If you or someone you know needs help please call Kids helpline 1800 551 800, Lifeline 13 11 14 or beyondblue 1300 22 46 36.
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.