batyr programs recognised in NSW youth and disaster report
batyr’s programs have been recommended in the Children and Young People’s Experience of Disaster Report 2020 report by the Office of the NSW Advocate for Children & Young People (ACYP).
This comes at a time when batyr has been busy reaching regional NSW communities affected by the ongoing drought and determining how best to support bushfire relief plans from multiple state governments.
Why is the ACYP mention a big deal?
ACYP is an independent statutory office reporting to the NSW Parliament through the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Children and Young People. Their mission is to “make NSW a better place for children and young people”, which we couldn’t be a bigger advocate of as a youth organisation.
To produce the report, ACYP representatives traveled to disaster-affected areas in NSW and got input from 1,400 young people to find out how the needs of young people could be better supported before, during and after a disaster.
As part of their 10 mental health recommendations, ACYP recommended “support for the youth led programs developed by batyr that encourage peer to peer support and training for children and young people”.
How is batyr supporting youth in drought-affected NSW communities?
Back in November, batyr received a grant under the NSW Government’s $88.4 million mental health schools commitment. The grant will be delivered over 2 years to allow up to 33 eligible schools (chosen by the department) from remote locations to experience batyr’s programs.
We kicked off this funding commitment in early August, traveling to Barraba Central School, Manilla Central School and Gunnedah High School.
We delivered 3 [email protected] programs to year 9 students at each school, with Manilla also receiving our Teacher Professional Development program. In total, we reached 106 year 9 students and 25 teachers.
Our next stops are Trundle, Condobolin and Forbes in the Central West over the next couple of months.
Working to support bushfire-affected communities
batyr has attended two National Bushfire Recovery Agency monthly forums to hear from not-for-profits who are working in the space of assisting the immediate, medium-term and long-term recovery of bushfire-affected communities.
These NFPs include the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, the National Mental Health Commission, R U OK, Disaster Relief Australia, Rural Aid, Australian Red Cross and OzHarvest.
In the next few months, we will be working with local government areas (LGAs) to offer our bushfire relief packages. This will include the delivery of our standard [email protected] program and an open parent/community forum to support those regions who are ready to have us share our stories of hope, messages of help-seeking, and encouragement to look out for one another and stay connected.
Ultimately, we would like to work with all levels of government to support youth in communities where mental health stigma tends to be higher.
While specific towns are yet to be decided the areas will likely include South Coast and Mid North Coast NSW, North Eastern VIC, regional QLD and regional SA.