In the last week there have been 2 separate reports which both point towards the fact that mental health and suicide are amongst the top issues facing young Australians.
Mike one of our batyr speakers can attest to this. Two and a half years ago, in his darkest of moments Mike attempted to take his own life.
“I felt like I let everyone down, like I did that all the time, but this time it was real and it was bad….I was determined to make my family proud of me again.”
And that is what Mike did. Mike participated in a Being Herd workshop and learnt how to safely share his story with mental ill health to provide hope to so many young Australians who may be facing similar challenges.
“When I found out about batyr, I thought ‘well this is a start’ but I never knew how far it could go, or how much an impact my story could have.”
Positive impact that is clearly needed.
Last Wednesday Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health released a major report showing that despite 20 years of suicide prevention strategies and investment by all levels of government, suicide rates among Australian young people are increasing. And not just increasing but in-fact are at a 10 year high!
Today Mission Australia released the latest edition (2016) of their Youth Survey (the biggest survey of young people in the country), which showed that for the record number of 22,000 15 to 19 year olds who took part, mental health has entered their top three concerns for the first time in the 15 year history of reporting.
This results are alarming and cannot be ignored, but it’s when reports & statistics like this are released we’ve got 2 options: We can choose to focus on the doom & gloom, the problems & issues and what’s not working OR we can recognise the reality of the situations and then focus on what we can actually do to change it.
And that’s what we’re trying to do each and every day through sharing stories of resilience, recovery & hope from young people, just like Mike, who live with mental ill health and lead positive & successful lives. Since that day (2 and a half years ago) Mike has shared his story with thousands of young Australians. He is now ending his journey with batyr to focus on his career, feeling it’s finally time his story progressed.
“It doesn’t end – just moves forward – and with that I’m hoping I can finally put my past to rest. I’m not ashamed of my past but I’m not so cliche to say that I wouldn’t change a thing – because i would. In a heartbeat. But i like to believe that I made the most of it – I certainly take a deep comfort every time i think of the students that have come up to me after the programs and have told me how much my story has inspired them”
Both of the reports released this week uncover some confronting truths about the world in which young people are living in. However they also highlight the fact that if we’re really going to make a change then we’ve got to start doing things differently and earlier. Through these reports young people are telling us loud and clear that we should be less afraid to talk openly about mental health & suicide and that they want to be involved in the development of policy, service and program responses. So lets get young people to be a part of the solution and continue to share these stories far and wide.