Mayor calls for greater youth support

Published on Thursday 8 February, 2018

The recent media focus on youth suicide has prompted calls from City of Gosnells Mayor Glenn Dewhurst to shine a light on the topic and generate ‘real’ conversation about prevention.

Mayor Dewhurst, whose background involves many years working as a police officer in regional WA, is no stranger to the impact of youth suicide on families.

“As a community, we must find a way to give young people real solutions to mental health issues,” he said.

“Bullying was an issue long before social media and while it’s important for us to talk about it, it’s not the only issue young people are struggling with.

“Many would say local government is not the place to address youth suicide but the City of Gosnells is already doing plenty of great work in this area, so I think we are in a position to lead the discussion and generate positive action.”

Next month, the City will join several other south-east metropolitan local governments in hosting the second annual King of the Hill skateboard and scooter competition series.

The inaugural King of the Hill was created to raise awareness about mental health issues among young men. Its immense success in 2017 led the Cities of Gosnells, Armadale, Belmont and Canning to again partner with Headspace Armadale for the event, which starts on Saturday 24 February.

“King of the Hill is a terrific environment for young people to share their stories or talk to professionals, who are on hand at each competition – they’re with their peers, doing what they enjoy and yet the seriousness of the message is not lost,” added Mayor Dewhurst.

“Throughout the year, our team of Youth Workers use also their Skate Jam sessions at the City’s four skate parks to connect with young people – many know the kids by name and can help them with self-esteem, school, family or social issues.

“Skate parks sometimes get a bad rap but they provide places for young people to feel safe and connected in their community.”

As students recommence their school routines for the year, Mayor Dewhurst urged parents, carers, teachers and the wider community to pay greater attention to the pressures faced by young people.

“By just asking someone if they’re OK shows you care – take some time to talk to each other and keep the conversation going.”

The City’s Youth and Children Services team offers a wide range of programs, events and services, including the Buzz Mentoring program, of which there are specialised groups for boys and girls.

Skate tours and camps, leadership camps, Youth Centre drop-in and anxiety workshops are among the City’s programs with a focus on being mentally healthy.

To find out more, please call 9397 3000 or visit the City’s youth website at thehive.net.au.