More than 100 North West college and TasTAFE students have joined forces to develop new mental health resources for young people.
TasTAFE Student and Teacher Support manager, Christine McCristal, said the resources, launched on 1 November, formed an integral part of the Working Well, Living Well project which aims to normalise mental health and reduce the stigma people with mental ill health face.
“Mental ill health is the number one health issue facing young Australians. Mental disorders are more common for young people aged 16-24 than any other age group and affect over 25 per cent of young Australians each year,” Ms McCristal said.
She said the project recognised that young people were sometimes reluctant to ask for help in this area because of the stigma attached.
“We believed that information about mental health issues needed the involvement of students as this was the target group it was aimed at,” Ms McCristal said.
The collaboration involved Hellyer and Don Colleges, Burnie and Devonport TasTAFE, principals, managers and teachers in the areas of community services, health and fitness, information technology, arts, graphic design and hospitality. Mental health professionals were also consulted.
Student feedback was used to compile a list of topics which formed the content for a 10 page booklet featuring student artwork and focusing on depression, anxiety and stress. A website, BranchingOut.life built primarily by two TasTAFE IT students to include student researched facts and art, also went live as part of the launch. Students also contributed over 20 pieces of artwork that were on show at the launch and were available for purchase by silent auction.
Ms McCristal said the project was a great example of collaboration between colleges and TasTAFE students and teachers, with support from key community health professionals to produce resources for students developed by students.
“The project has provided opportunities for students to increase their knowledge of mental ill health and local support services and gain experience in their area of study through participating in the project,” Ms McCristal said.
The project was funded by the State Government through Skills Tasmania’s Training and Work Pathway Program.
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