June 29, 2021

Empowering Canberra’s Young Mental Health Advocates

"We often forget the power and strength of our young people, just like the generations before them they have the potential to spark great positive change, we forget that. If we gave them the tools, confidence and put a little trust in their brilliance we might find that our future gets a whole lot brighter. Our young people can change the world for the better, I wanted to try and start the process by giving them the tools and confidence to do it." - Rose Clifford 2020 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year

In 2021, Rose continued her work to empower Canberra's young mental health advocates with the support of ACT Government's Youth Interact Grants. The project led by Rose developed and delivered a workshop for Canberra youth leaders, utilising MIEACT's evidence based programs to train them on how to safely and confidently talk about mental health, encouraging peer to peer education and advocacy.

From Rose's perspective "Young people will play a vital role in how our world will look in the future and will ultimately set the tone for our social landscape for generations to come. Through instilling the importance of empathy, compassionate leadership and promoting a more positive approach to mental health in these age groups we can secure a future where our workplaces, governments, communities etc. hold these values at their core, creating a safer place for everyone. We know from research that young people have more power to influence stigma and help-seeking behaviours of their peers than we as adults do. I truly believe that if we equip them with the skills to do this, the confidence to support each other and trust in their ability to positively change their social environments, they will change the mental health landscape for the better."

Working with a group of student leaders at Daramalan College the program was well received and thought provoking for those in attendance. Participants shared:
"I really enjoyed this, it was a calm environment that allowed us to learn about difficult topics and it was a space where we were free to ask questions and have conversations"
"I thought this was very good and different to what I first thought it was going to be like. It was very enjoyable and fun to do some of the hands on activities"

At MIEACT, we value the safety ad security of our people and community above everything else. We believe in learning through empathy, authenticity and deep human connection. Our focus is on working together to change the lives of people for the better. This project aligns closely to our core values and we can see the impact it has had on the participants.

"I developed this program in the hopes of equipping our young people with the confidence and skills I didn’t have at their age to address their mental health and create a safe environment for all those needing help. They set the tone for the society of our future, why not make sure it is a better, safer, and more mentally well one than the one we have now."

We congratulate and acknowledge Rose's ongoingwork in this space.

Resources used in the program can be found below: