4 August 2021, Australia – After receiving 39 entries from young people across the country, youth mental health charity batyr, with support from The Happiness Institute, is excited to announce the winner of its first, ever Young Innovators Award.
Having young people lead the positive change they want to see in the attitudes and outcomes surrounding mental health is so important to achieving a lasting impact for our youngest generation, and this award aims to breathe life into these innovations or to take them to the next level.
batyr’s expert judging panel, which included Canva Co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins, were so blown away by all of the submissions, which ranged from smashing the stigma associated with mental ill-health, promoting positive conversations around mental health or facilitating positive behaviour change.
The winner is:
Phuong Nguyen (Caulfield East, Melbourne) – Push & Pull: A Board Game for the Mental Health of Asian Youth
Growing up in an Asian household, Phuong, Kristina and Linh say the best opportunities they get to bond with their families is over food and games during family gatherings. This sparked an idea to help tackle the mental health stigma that’s prevalent in their families and communities, often preventing Asian youth from seeking help when experiencing mental ill-health. It is particularly difficult to navigate this stigma when living with their families because it can be difficult to access mental health resources and education without their parents’ permission. An innovative board game revolving around mental health would allow young people to leverage the fun experience of playing to have constructive mental health conversations with their families. It’s also an opportunity to practice the same love, support and learning that’s valued in Asian families, while also increasing mental health literacy.
Sadly, it’s been predicted that suicide rates may rise by up to 50 per cent due to the economic and social hit of COVID-19, with around 1 in 3 suicides among young people aged 15-25 years of age (Ian Hickie, Head of the Brain and Mind Centre at Sydney University). We know these rates are higher among young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) like Phuong and her friends. At batyr, we believe it’s so important to champion the ideas of young people to create long-lasting and positive change at a time when the global pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many young people in Australia.
“Congratulations to Phuong, Kristina and Linh, who will have access to batyr’s vast reach and expertise to help implement and grow their powerful innovation, because addressing the mental health needs of young people requires an incredibly different way of thinking that young people themselves are best placed to lead,” said batyr Innovation Lead Isaac Peiris (23).
Thanks to the support of The Happiness Institute, the winner will receive a $50,000 prize package that includes access to networks, mentorship, budget, and desk space to help implement their idea, plus a $1,000 cash prize.