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A-League soccer superstar, Archie Thompson joined SWMML on June 20 to take more than 170 local high school students on a journey to better health and wellbeing.
After the success of last year’s ‘Youth Event’, the need for more health-focussed events aimed at youth in the community was evident in the feedback received from students and teachers, and SWMML's 2014 'It's All About YOUth' event was designed to target young people and talk about the issues that mean the most to them.
“Youth mental health is a huge and growing issue in our area and statistics indicate that young people in the Wyndham and Hobsons Bay region are experiencing higher levels of psychological distress than young people in other regions of Victoria,” SWMML CEO, Gaylene Coulton said.
“The youth health and wellbeing event intends to reduce the stigma around mental health by fostering conversation and providing resources about issues young people in our community are facing.”
“The topics and issues that will be discussed during the day have all been guided by the responses of year 9 and 10 students at Laverton College, whose leadership team worked in partnership with our organisation and got us up-to-speed with just what young people are after; from dealing with cyber-bullying, to hearing from those with lived experiences.”
The much anticipated and warmly received speaker of the day, Archie Thompson emphasised his passion in helping youth in the region by sharing his tips for success and inspiring those who attended to live a healthy life.
“Our young people are the future. If they don’t look after their bodies be that through a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mindset, their future will be one of struggle instead of one of happiness and fulfilment,” Archie said.
“It’s our responsibility as adults to make sure the youth of today respect their bodies and their future.”
Local organisations and services: Cohealth, MASSIVE dance troupe, headspace Werribee, Wyndham City Council Youth Services, Hobsons Bay Youth Services, Family Planning Vic, YSAS, SecondBite, Whitelion and Domain Health, held stands to provide the students with useful information about health and wellbeing issues, and resources on where to go for help in the community.
'Beer goggles', badge making, hip-hop dancing and fruit and veggie guessing were just some of the activities on offer from local organisations, with students (and staff) enthusiastically joining in on what was on offer.
Overall, the event was well supported by local government representatives and politicians alike, with the Mayor of Wyndham Cr Bob Fairclough, Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Sandra Wilson and Cesar Melhem MLC for Western Metro Region, joining in on the day.
The day concluded with a panel of local service providers answering the big questions put to them by the students. Archie was dealt a blow by being asked why he wasn't in the World Cup, and local youth officers were this time the ones being questioned, with students wanting to know if they'd ever arrested someone! The relaxed atmosphere and the enthusiastic nature of all those involved contributed to the success of the day.
With special thanks to our panellists: Archie Thompson, Gaylene Coulton, Dr Sue Cox, Joanne Ryan MP for Lalor and former Principal at Laverton College, Police Officer Scott Sutton, Jess Todd, Police Officer James Ridsdale and Nigel Lane.