State Mental Health Minister, Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell announced the state government would provide $250,000 to boost the expertise of youth workers across NSW in dealing with mental health issues among young people, in Camden today (Tuesday, February 3).
The training, to be coordinated through peak body Mental Health First Aid Australia, will provide youth workers, particularly those in rural and regional areas, with the skills and confidence to recognise signs and symptoms of common mental health problems in young people and respond effectively.
Mr Rowell said half of all mental illnesses manifested before the age of 14 and three quarters by the age of 25.
‘‘So it’s important that youth workers are equipped to recognise and respond to emerging mental health problems,” he said.
“Mental health problems can have a profound impact on the lives of young people, making it difficult for them to connect with family and friends, live healthy lives and reach their potential.
“Youth workers play a critical and pivotal role in helping children and young people make sense of the world around them.”
Camden MP Chris Patterson joined Mr Rowell for the announcement at local youth services provider, Camden Community Connections.
Mr Patterson said the training would provide potentially life-saving skills to youth workers.
“Youth workers perform a vital role in helping our young people face up to all sorts of challenges, so it’s fantastic to see the NSW government now providing financial assistance to help them undertake mental health training too,” he said.
Youth Action NSW managing director Katie Acheson said this was is an outstanding initiative which would ensure youth workers were equipped with the skills they needed to support young people facing mental health issues.
■ Mental Health First Aid Australia is a not-for-profit organisation focused on mental health training and research. It provides evidence-based courses which teach mental health first aid strategies to members of the public. The training will provide participants with skills in how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, awareness of a range of treatments available and skills on how to respond to a comprehensive range of mental health crisis situations. Details: www.mhfa.com.au.