Friday, March 1, 2024

Youth murals shine light on mental health

Young people have joined professional artists to paint two murals in WA’s City of Melville to help stimulate important conversations about mental health.

“The City recognises the important role we play in supporting the mental health of young people and we were proud to be involved in this project,” said Mayor, George Gear.

“By providing opportunities like this, young people can express themselves creatively, make friends and reinforce the importance of self-care and seeking help.”

Mental health counsellor, Orion Read, met with young people during a series of workshops to talk about depression, suicide, resilience and overcoming adversity before artists, Shavaurn Hanson and Olivia Robinson, then incorporated the ideas from 54 young people into two mural designs, which were painted by young attendees.

“‘I was really surprised about the willingness of the young people to talk about such heavy topics during the workshops,” says Read.

“It’s often considered a taboo in society. I think once the wider community learns what the murals are about it will help to have those open and earnest conversations, we all need. If we can talk more about mental health, we can start to find solutions for those issues.”

The murals aim to remove stigma and encourage people to seek help when they are struggling, City of Melville Council said in a statement this week.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s suicide and self-harm monitoring, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24. About 75% of common mental health issues emerge before the age of 25.

Informed by voices of young people as outlined in Council’s Directions from Young People Strategy, the Council is now exploring more opportunities to help young people express themselves.

The project was funded by a grant from the WA Primary Health Alliance under the Perth South National Suicide Prevention Trial.

An important outcome of the project funding is the ability to provide 200 members of the community free access to Suicide Prevention in Everyday Life training.

The Council is encouraging parents of teens to take up this training developed by the Black Dog Institute.

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