Tuesday, November 09, 2010

spreading the mental health message

While many young people may fill their days with study, sport or socialising, there’s a group of Yarra Ranges teenagers who spend their time spruiking a much more serious message.

The group are doing their bit to break down the stigma attached to mental illness as members of the council’s Youth Services’ program Paying Attention to Self (PATS).

As part of their ongoing campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues, the group has designed a hoodie windcheater. The hoodie has a large question mark on the back with the words “Understanding mental illness” as well as a reference to the PATS group.

These young people are particularly inspirational in their efforts, as they have at least one parent suffering a mental illness.

The group is working hard to breakdown stereotypes that sadly still exist in society, they also provide a wonderful support to each other.

PATS aims to provide education to young people about mental illness, and to help them learn ways to better manage the day to day challenges of having a parent with mental illness.

One of the most important components of the group is the peer connections. Many young people feel alone in having a parent with mental illness, so introducing them to others who understand is really beneficial.

The hoodie was one of a variety of projects designed to provide a talking pointand raise the conversation about mental illness. Other projects have included designing silk flags, mosaics, a photo exhibition and creatinga DVD and a book.

Their energy and commitment to getting the mental health message out there is inspiring.

Young people wanting to find out more about the PATS program can contact Youth Services at Yarra Ranges Council on 9294 6716.

Hoodies a good fit for cause
Yarra Ranges Weekly
by Elisa Miller
09 November 2010

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