Your Mind Matters, IOE’s contribution to Victorian Youth Week (13-22 April 2018), offered an insight into mental health issues experienced by youth.

Around 50 young people came along to the event to hear the stories of a number of young people from diverse situations who are dealing with their own mental health issues including depression, anxiety and extreme stress.

Individual stories and a meditation session were followed by a ‘truth and acceptance’ game run by Sarah Ward founder of the youth Misfit Project. The game aimed to get people to honestly own certain issues, therefore bringing them into the open and validating them and providing acceptance and recognition by the group.

Participants then took part in some sensory and mindfulness activities putting them in touch with different sensations and relaxation techniques.

The final session of the day consisted of a Q and A with a panel of six young people who gave intelligent and insightful answers which were informed by their own experiences of dealing with personal mental health issues. Questions revolved around such things as: starting the mental health conversation, advice for parents, how to support friends, taking care of yourself, recognising triggers and generally putting coping strategies in place.

The overwhelming message of the day was that, if you are experiencing mental health issues, you are not alone. Support keywords from the day were: listen, be there and validate. And for those experiencing issues: seek support, care for yourself, develop strategies and most importantly, remember mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of, don’t be afraid to bring them into the open!

A great event to raise awareness and provide support which was made possible through funding from the Victorian Government. .