On Saturday 27 February, the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC), and yourtown convened a forum consisting of young Queenslanders, in response to emerging mental health data captured as part of the QFCC’s Growing Up in Queensland (GUiQ) project.
Led by QFCC’s Youth Advisory Council, the ‘Amplify – “Young minds can’t wait” event presented the mental health findings to participants for discussion on what needs to be done to respond to the data.
QFCC Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said the purpose of the forum was to partner with 15 to 25-year-olds to co-design a youth-led response to the mental health concerns of young Queenslanders.
“As a community, we must support our young people; first by hearing directly from them and secondly to work with them to identify the best way forward,” Ms Vardon said.
“Out of the thousands of young people who completed the Growing Up in Queensland youth survey, 33 per cent of them said they have an emotional or mental health condition and in some cases they detailed the specific barriers they are facing which is something we have to respond to.
“What we are seeing at the QFCC is young people raising concerns about mental health stigma, the costs of accessing support, waiting times and the challenge of accessing services in regional and remote locations.
“The feedback from young people will help inform how we respond.”
yourtown CEO Tracy Adams echoed Ms Vardon’s concerns and said the rise of issues around mental health was concerning, especially in the context of impacts on young people by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our Kids Helpline counselling service continues to experience increased demand from children and young people with our counsellors responding to over 500 contacts a day from those aged 5 to 25 years,” said Ms Adams.
“The pandemic whilst intensifying the level of support required by young people, has also highlighted the great capacity children and young people have to seek help and support. We strongly support providing the means for young people to be involved in development of solutions - engaging young people helps us know more so that we can do more.”
Event facilitator and BOP Industries CEO Scott Millar said it was important governments co-designed solutions to issues like mental health.
"Generation Z are quite often referred to as our digital natives. Growing up in a world surrounded by technology, this generation think so differently about challenges and I can't wait to see the ideas they come up with," Mr Millar said.
"This is such a fantastic opportunity for government to work with young Queenslanders to develop solutions designed by young people, for young people.
"Mental health is an issue that continues to substantially affect young people across the state. Whilst everyone struggles with it in their own way, a great way to develop youth focussed solutions is by asking young people themselves."
The day ended with a showcase of ideas produced by the participants of the event, with teams developing solutions and sharing them with other participants and the panel.
The QFCC’s Growing Up in Queensland is a biennial project capturing the snapshot of the lives of young Queenslanders. Launching in April 2020, the initiative invited children ages 4 – 18 years to share their views about their communities, their hopes, and the issues they believe are important. Over 8,000 young Queenslanders participated in the project with the final report expected in mid-2021.
Media contact –
Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC)
0434 683 265