We are the Youth Media Team, a group of five enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about social justice and equal opportunity. Over the last few months, we’ve been working with the Youth Coalition on a project about equity in education.

At the start of the project, we identified several issues that can affect a young person’s schooling:

  • LGBT+
  • Homelessness
  • Refugees
  • Young carers
  • Domestic violence
  • Involvement in the justice system

While all of these issues are of great importance, they all have one thing in common: each issue has an impact on an individual’s mental health. With that in mind, the team decided that mental health would be the primary area of focus for the duration of the project, and this allowed us to begin to think about which services to interview, and other actions we could potentially take.

The key areas of focus that the Youth Media Team identified were:

  1. Reduce the stigma associated with mental health
  2. Ensure teachers are trained to educate and support students around mental health
  3. Provide accessible mental health supports for students
  4. Ensure schools have a solid relationship with outside services
  5. Provide support to teachers
  6. Include mental health in the curriculum

Of these, messages 1, 3, and 4 were recognised to be primary areas of focus for our project.

The Youth Media Team identified that stigma associated with mental health is an extremely prevalent issue within today’s society. The members of the Youth Media Team have either personally experienced mental illness or know someone who has, and recognise that it is one of the biggest barriers when it comes to students seeking help for mental health.

Accessible mental health support within schools is vital. When one member of the team identified that “our counsellor’s office is at the back of the dodgy carpark”, the team realised that this was a bigger issue than we had first thought. We explored this topic in our interviews with school principals.We also found that at first glance, there is some difficulty with linking schools with outside services. However, when interviewing these services, we found that this was not always the case.

We look forward to sharing the content we have created, showcasing the work that schools and community services are doing to support young people and their mental health.

Watch our interviews with services.

Watch our interviews with principals.