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Mental Health Campaign for Indigenous Youth


Tuesday, 30th September 2014 at 10:26 am
Lina Caneva, Editor
A national campaign that aims to get Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to talk about problems affecting their mental health and wellbeing has been launched.

Tuesday, 30th September 2014
at 10:26 am
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Mental Health Campaign for Indigenous Youth
Tuesday, 30th September 2014 at 10:26 am

A national campaign that aims to get Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to talk about problems affecting their mental health and wellbeing has been launched.

The campaign is said to be the first youth-led national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth mental health campaign of its kind and is being lead by Not for Profit organisation headspace.

'Yarn safe' was developed with a group of 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from across Australia, including Elcho Island, Brisbane, Darwin, Broome, Melbourne and Perth.

headspace said the campaign was created to improve mental health literacy among this group and encourage them to get help at headspace centres located around the country, eheadspace online and telephone counselling service or other appropriate mental health services.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said depression, anxiety and suicide affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth at a significantly higher rate than non-Indigenous young people.

"Shame, judgement and feeling isolated for not being 'normal' is stopping many young people from getting the help they need. There's also a lack of trust in services and knowledge of the mental health system,” Tanti said.

"A huge appeal of headspace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people is the ease of access and confidentiality, which isn't always guaranteed at other services, so the campaign needed to emphasise that.”

Over the last 12 months, the group of 12 young people, who were selected through a national recruitment process, came together in Melbourne to attend various workshops where they conceptualised the campaign.

Through the workshops and a series of phone and online interactions, young people provided direction into every aspect of the campaign, including language, colours, messaging and design.

headspace and the young people worked with Indigenous creative agency, Gilimbaa, on the creative development of the campaign.

One of the young people involved in its creation, Sam Paxton, said designing an effective national campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples has been challenging, particularly due to the diversity between cultures.

"By bringing together a group of young people across Australia, we have been able to explore the commonalities that exist within our cultures," Paxton said.

“We've united elements of art with strong imagery of people, country and language that's familiar to and resonates with all."

Paxton said too often the physical aspect of health was treated in isolation and underlying issues were overlooked.

"headspace understands that health is holistic and works with both young people and their family. In taking this approach, hopefully we can continue to break the cycle of inter-generational trauma that exists within our communities," she said.

The campaign will be seen in metropolitan, regional and rural communities around the country through headspace centres as well as online atyarnsafe.org.au. A second advertising phase will take the campaign to TV, radio, print and online media in November.

Tanti said the organisation has a relatively high number of young people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander accessing headspace services.

"We know that young people in this group find headspace to be a welcoming and trustworthy place to go for their problems, but we also know there are many young people at risk we aren't reaching," he said.

"By working with this group, we've created a targeted and culturally appropriate campaign that will hopefully drive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to our services and make a difference to their future."


Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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