I am a Young Person

Your mental health is important. And with the Royal Commission into Mental Health in the coming months, there will be more conversations and media reporting on mental health and young people.

This could be stressful and distressing for young people who have a lived experience of, or who care for and support others with mental health issues, so YACVic has put together some tips to look after yourself and your peers.

Download this cute poster version to put up somewhere as a reminder!

It’s OK not to be OK

  • Mental illness does not discriminate, it affects all of us in different ways so don’t judge others because of their gender, culture, religion and beliefs, or sexuality
  • Try to understand what your triggers are and how you can manage them
  • Know what your boundaries are and tell people so that they can respect them. Always respect others boundaries.

Ask for help

  • Identify your community support network (friends, family and services) and ask for help when needed.
  • If you have lived experience of mental health, think through the parts of your story and who the safe and supportive people are to share this with. Some people will not always respect your confidentiality so you may need to point out the need for people to keep your confidence.

Take time out

  • Find a safe space to take time out
  • Take a break from media or social media that is not supportive or is overly negative. It’s OK to block people or sites that make you feel worse about yourself. Don’t pass on negative images or comments about others on social media.  
  • Excessive use of alcohol and other drugs can make you feel worse. Sometimes when you are stressed, anxious or feeling down its better to avoid them. At other times set a limit and stick to it. Tell your friends when you’re not using and ask them to respect and support your decisions.

Do the things you love

  • Engage in your creative side
  • If you’re feeling stressed take some time out, let others know you are stressed, go for a walk or do something physical, listen to music or do something creative, read a book or do something else that you enjoy.
  • Spend time with animals, they are always willing to listen and enjoy your company

Be a good mate

  • A good friend stands up for their mates and calls out bullies
  • A good friend knows how to listen and support their mate to get help
  • Know when and how to support a friend and know when to get them professional or other help).
  • Do nice things for yourself every day

If you need urgent support:

If you are in danger, please call TripleZero 000 immediately.

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I am a Youth Worker

For workers who are supporting young people who have lived experience of, or who care for and support others with mental health conditions, it can be difficult to switch off.  

Over the coming months, with the Royal Commission into Mental Health, there will be an increase in mental health related conversations, assessments or mental health related work.

Here are YACVic’s tips on looking after yourself and your peers.

Download this helpful poster to remind your office to take care!

Know your boundaries and ask for help

  • Know your boundaries, if a situation is beyond your skill level or capacity, ask others to assist.   
  • Know what services you can refer young people to and for more urgent referrals what waiting lists may be expected until someone can help and what your service may need to do to hold or support someone until they can get an appointment.
  • Build and maintain an up to date referral list of services in local community.
  • Make sure you’re able to listen openly and actively with young people about mental health and what they may be dealing with or need.
  • Holding other people’s experiences can be taxing, even when you care, so you might need someone to listen to YOU. That’s okay, remember you have a support network to reach out to as well. 

Make it a priority in your workplace

  • Make sure you are getting regular supervision and or debriefing.
  • Ask about your organisation’s Employee Assistance Program if you need independent support and help. 
  • Organise an update for your team on knowing the signs of poor mental health including anxiety, depression, suicide and other conditions. 
  • Have a team based or organizational wide conversation about supporting and encouraging good mental health for everyone in the workplace

Involve young people in the design of your response

  •  Ask young people how you can best support them
  • Discuss mental health services and what can be improved with young people
  • Involve young people in the design of service plans for what to do if you think someone is at risk of suicide
  • Encourage young people to stay active and do things that they enjoy or provide them with pleasure.

Do the things you love

  • Make sure you are getting enough time away from work and that your boundaries are clear and respected
  • Try to use strength based language (example) and pick others up on stigma based language. There is power to language and if it’s not addressed it can further isolate young people or leave them with the impression that you are not on their side.
  • Stay active and do things that you enjoy and give you pleasure. (suggestions)
  • If you are able to pass on skills that encourage meditation, yoga/ Wayapa, singing or music practice or other mindfulness practices do so.

Take time off work

  • Take time off for your mental health
  • Remember life outside of work
  • Turn off any email and work reminders on your phone

If you need urgent support:

If you are in danger, please call TripleZero 000 immediately.

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