Launch of Youth Insearch Foundation End Youth Suicide Campaign, Parliament House, Canberra
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
Good evening. Linda and I are proud to be with you for this important event.
Today marks the launch of the Youth Insearch Foundation 2021 End Youth Suicide campaign, the third year of this campaign.
It’s regrettable that a campaign to end youth suicide is needed in Australia, but there is no escaping the seriousness of this issue. Suicide is the major killer of Australians aged between 15 and 24.
That statistic is both alarming and heart-breaking. Teenagers, young men and women, lost to their family; lost to us all. The impact of that loss spreads far and wide.
We must end youth suicide. It is our collective responsibility.
I have engaged with Youth Insearch as Patron for several years now and have seen the remarkable changes it has achieved in young lives. I want to thank all involved in the organisation, as well as the representatives from other groups represented here, tonight for your work in helping young people and strengthening families and communities.
This campaign, I know, will help enormously. It will help create awareness of this issue and emphasise how important it is for young people to speak up if they are struggling with their mental health.
There is no shame in speaking up – no shame. We all encourage anyone who is struggling with their mental health to share their feelings with their GP, or a family member, friend or work colleague. Help is available – 24/7.
One of the things I have learnt over the years in both my professional and personal life is the importance of being an agent of change for someone who is experiencing mental health problems. It’s one thing to be a friend, a sounding board or a good listener. But what we really need are people to act on what they hear and see. To actively seek help for the person who is struggling. Be the one to make the call! Be the agent of change! We all know it can save a life.
Again, as Patron of Youth Insearch, it’s great to see the positive results the Foundation is achieving. To date, Youth Insearch has assisted nearly 32,000 at-risk youth.
One of the keys to Youth Insearch’s success is its peer-to-peer program which brings young people together with people who have gone through – and come through – similar experiences. Graduates from the program assist and mentor participants through their issues. The lived experiences and support from someone who has been in a dark place and survived can resonate strongly with someone who is at-risk.
Of the young people that have come to Youth Insearch over the past 12 months:
- 58 per cent have planned to kill themselves in the past
- 23 per cent have attempted suicide
- 1 in 5 participants have indicated it is likely they would commit suicide in the future.
But after attending Youth Insearch’s peer-to-peer support program, 91 per cent of participants who were at risk of suicide no longer felt suicidal. An outstanding result.
Thank you all, again, for attending this End Youth Suicide campaign launch and for the critically important work you are doing in this space.
There’s much uncertainty in the world right now and many young Australians are concerned and anxious about their future. These feelings will most likely be exacerbated for someone already experiencing mental health problems.
The message behind the blue Youth Insearch badge I’m wearing is ‘let’s spread hope, one heart at a time’.
There is hope; there is a way out; and there is a future.
I encourage everyone to support this campaign and help end youth suicide.
It’s now my pleasure to officially launch the Youth Insearch Foundation End Youth Suicide campaign.