Previously the Youth Mental Health Development Officer created and maintained an important blog. Due to the cessation of the position, IIOY has continued to disseminate through our social media site located here. The page is geared to all things children, youth and parenting. We hope you enjoy the regular updates or feel free to scroll through the past blog entries below ~ IIOY Team.

Leadership in Mental Health PRRAWA presents….

Have you heard?

Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Recovery Association WA (PRRAWA) are hosting a free forum (video link-in available) in Perth on December 12th 2014.

The forum is titled Community Rehabilitation and Recovery with four panel members:

Mark Pestell, Area Manager, SMHS Mental Health Strategy & Leadership Unit
Rod Astbury, Executive Director, WA Association Mental Health
Roger Golling, A/Assistant Director Contracts Public Health, Mental Health Commission
Anna Richards, New Futures, MH Consumer Consultant, Activist & Catalyst for Change

As mentioned, video link-in is available through registration where you can also post questions for the panel follow this link.

With such a great representation of the sector including consumer consultant Anna Richards, why not spend your Friday afternoon from 2:30pm – 4:00pm delving into this year’s final formal discussions addressing rehabilitation and recovery.

You can also find PRRAWA on Facebook.


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Communities Matter – a small town resource

Suicide Prevention Toolkit – A Small Town Resource

Mental Health Commission of NSW and Suicide Prevention Australia have partnered to deliver this wonderful resource aimed at smaller communities. The objective of the toolkit is to provide a platform for conversation whether it be initiated by an individual in the community or an established group/NGO that wants to continue the work they have begun in their community addressing suicide, by adding other resources or activities.

The Key Principles

The content and format of the toolkit reflects the following key principles:

  • The community is best placed to identify its local needs and priorities.
  • Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and is a shared community responsibility, involving individuals, families and government and non-government agencies at local, state and national levels.
  • A community needs support and information on what approaches could be used for the whole community, for specific groups within the community and for individuals at risk to help inform its decisions and actions.
  • Community-driven suicide prevention also needs processes that enable input from, and consultation with the community, experts and those who have attempted or are bereaved by suicide. This will ensure that the activities the community implements are accessible, appropriate and responsive to the social and cultural needs of the people it aims to support and assist.
  • Community action can result in a once-off activity or can involve a range of activities that occur over a longer period of time.
  • It is important for the community to reflect on whether the activity it has undertaken has been effective. That is, evaluation should be part of a community suicide prevention action plan.  postquote1


A wonderful resource for small communities with incredibly thorough detailed sections on:

  • Dos & Dont’s.
  • What can the community do?
  • How to mobilise your community.
  • Beginning the conversation.
  • Working towards a prevention action plan.
  • Promotion of positive mental health.
  • Working with the media.
  • Background information on suicide.
  • Further Resources.

It is a lengthy document but very user friendly with clear language and easy to follow hyperlinks placed throughout to allow for intuitive use. IIOY can’t praise the information provided enough – easy to make reference to including really great current info for example:

Page 27 on Myths and Facts. Click the snapshot below to get a closer look.

myths and facts










You can follow this link for free access to the view or download the full document/toolkit.

IIOY would like to invite you to speak to someone from Lifeline on 13 11 14 or other support services if this article has raised any feelings of distress.






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It’s 10/10… #MentalAs. But have you heard about Huntington’s – Part 1

As you’re likely already very aware – today is World Mental Health Day which coincides perfectly with our Aussie Mental Health Week. There is so much to share and never enough space to share it in…

From ABC’s hashtag social media campaign #MentalAs to Mental Health Australia’s post your mental health promise the depth and breadth of awareness raising, to tips on how to stay mentally healthy are vast and frankly, quite wonderful! Here at IIOY we highly recommend booting your computer up and loading iView to watch the three part series on Changing Minds – The Inside Story, but please note the series does have an M-rated classification so viewer discretion is advised.

IIOY is fascinated by all things in the mind and this week, in honour of Mental Health Week and the vast array of forms illness and disease takes, we decided to investigate the rare neurodegenerative disease Huntington’s.

We highly recommend listening to the pod-cast called Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde as aired on This American Life in April 2013 about a doctor, a former doctor and the genetic disease:

As Benjamin settles in at the clinic, and people got to know him, something interesting happens. Vince’s former patients – who are now Benjamin’s patients – start talking to him about Vince. What he finds out surprises him. postquote1

Here’s what we have learnt so far about HD:

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is an inherited brain disease that causes deterioration of the physical (movement disorders including chorea), cognitive (dementia) and emotional-self, progressing for 10-20 years after onset. It’s genetic. This means that if a diagnosis is conclusive, there is a 50% chance that HD will be inherited by offspring – and according to this source, not all who are at risk of inheriting the disease opt to take the genetic test to determine whether they in fact have it. HD is caused by the expansion of a trinucleotide (CAG) repeat in a single gene that is autosomal dominant – this means basically that the HD gene is faulty.

HD often encompasses difficult behaviours and psychiatric symptoms including depression, anxiety, hallucinations and delusions however these are often well managed through medication.

MRI scans of people suffering from HD show atrophy of specific regions of the brain not limited to but importantly the caudate which operates much like a ‘gate’ and significantly this ‘gate’ has the most connections through to the frontal lobes and influences mood, motor skill and cognition. There is no cure for this deterioration however resent research has showed promising results in gene-environment interactions. Read more here.

HD is a fascinating yet devastatingly incurable disease. Symptoms occur at different phases of the illness with potential to wax and wane and may not be experienced by all who are diagnosed. The environment plays a key role in severity of symptom expression and provided benefical effects for sufferers by enriching their environments.

For more information please click on the link below. IIOY hopes to follow up on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of HD.

Understanding Behaviour in Huntington’s Disease

Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of HD

Behavioural Neuroscience

Huntington’s Western Australia

This American Life Podcast

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Maybe you could…Speak Your Mind

With one in five Australians experiencing mental health issues each year, it’s vital that personal stories of survival and resilience are told. Let’s share these stories, get talking and show that we’re all in this together.postquote1

Have you heard about Speak Your Mind?

ABC OPEN has created a space where we can share our personal encounters with mental health – the survival and building of resilience. We’ve been invited to share these important experiences; whether we are a carer, a family member or stories of our own personal journey navigating this often challenging, insightful and difficult space. This is a place to express what works, overcoming stigma and how are we doing now and importantly how are we maintaining a mentally healthy lifestyle. This is a place to reflect, connect and learn from our communities.

This video really caught my attention today. I love the humility and rawness… This is Rex’s story.

Need some advice? Find someone to help you out…

Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

Some reading perhaps?




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Bringing the Secrecy of Self-harm Into Discussion

You may be aware that recently Bunbury hosted a forum “Responding To Deliberate Self-harm”.

Deliberate Self Harm (DSH) otherwise known as Deliberate Self-Injury or Non-Suicidal Self-Injury, and often used interchangeably, was identified as an area of concern throughout the south-west professional sector and community alike. Interest in this behaviour stems from the scarcity of available consistent information and referral pathways and importantly, relevant research. Collaboration between several government agencies and non-government services emerged and as a result, ‘Responding to Deliberate Self Harm’ forum ensued. The free forum aimed to provide the community with a space to voice not only their stories but to open this concern up to address any misconceptions regarding DSH and also reduce stigma through accessible, community discussion.

Evaluation of the forum was completed by Investing In Our Youth (IIOY) with results indicating that of the 142 registered attendees, 88 of whom completed the evaluation, 80% departed the forum with a deeper understanding of the complex behaviour however there was a noted desire for further information.

But where to now? This was only the beginning after all.

It has been recommended that future workshops engaging both the professional and consumer sector take place in the future. IIOY has sourced some relevant current information and journal articles which may assist in continuing the development of understanding this complicated behaviour.

You can read the full evaluation of the Responding to Deliberate Self-harm Forum here.

Below is a link to a great read, although completed in 2010 the statistics in the article are of interest.

Self-injury in Australia: a community survey

Graham Martin, Sarah V Swannell, Philip L Hazell, James E Harrison and Anne W Taylor

If you would like further links to journal articles please don’t hesitate to contact us at:

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Tell Them They’re Dreaming. Orygen releases a worthy report.

Orygen Youth Health Research Centre has released a report discussing the difficulties faced by young people with mental illness in regards to employment and education opportunities: Tell Them They’re Dreaming: Work, Education and Young People with Mental Illness in Australia.

The following key issues have been highlighted by Orygen:

• Unemployment and participation rates of people with mental illness have remained relatively unchanged over the last decade at around 20% and 28% respectively, and are the worst of any disability group.

• People with mental illness constitute the largest, and fastest growing, group in receipt of the Disability Support Pension, the two most common exits from which are the Aged Pension and death.

• Current employment services are achieving unsatisfactory results for people with mental illness. The three most intensive programs achieved job placement outcomes of 26.6%, 24.2% and 18.8% for people with psychiatric conditions.

• There is currently no use by employment agencies of evidence-based employment interventions for people with mental illness in Australia. Evidence-based interventions such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) have been shown to triple employment outcomes.


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Another top resource from Professionals.Heard about the MEGA LIST?

reachout-professionalsRecently Professionals released an Alcohol and Other Drugs Kit (resource) for sharing and/or printing. The kit is designed for use when working with young people who may be experiencing/experimenting with alcohol or drugs or perhaps are concerned about someone in their lives who is. The fact sheets are great! What caught my interest was the#neknominate link. I really knew very little about this craze and this gave me, as a parent and professional in the youth related realm, a great deal of insight.

You know that age-old chant where they make you down a beer (‘Here’s to [your name] he’s true blue…’)? Well now imagine that tenfold, digital and permanent. It’s pretty hard to avoid peer pressure when someone’s personally attached your name to it.

Another area of interest was the Building Better Coping Skills page. The explanations are simple, the language is just perfect for youth and the MEGA LIST of coping strategies brilliant – to the point, no bull! Here’s a little snap-shot of the MEGA LIST!

Turn to someone you trust. Write it all down. Write it all down. Write it all down. Overcome negative patterns of thinking through self-talk. Reduce your load. Consider the big picture. Learn to forgive. Hone your communication skills. Build your optimism. Learn how to set goals.Relax, manBuild your gratitude. 


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14,461 Young People – stress online counselling and families…where’s your focus for 2014?

The much anticipated annual Mission Australia Youth Survey (as you are probably very aware) has been released! How many organisations take the 2013 data into account and work to shift their focus into 2014? Is a change needed at all? There are some interesting findings presented in the report including some thought provoking issues concerning the 14,461 young people surveyed.

Coping with stress was the top issue of concern, with 38.3% of respondents indicating that they were either extremely concerned (15.8%) or very concerned (22.5%) about this issue.postquote1


Almost two thirds (64.1%) of young people indicated that they werenot comfortable using a telephone hotline for advice, support or information, 59.7% were not comfortable using an online counselling website and 49.2% were not comfortable contacting a community

Page 20 provides an insight into the significant role that parents, friends and the internet play as information resources as well as forms of support and advice too. What is encouraging is that 66.9% of young people responded with an overall positive outlook on life and this translates into their future perspectives too:

Over two thirds of respondents felt either positive (48.8%) or very positive (18.7%) about the

In total, 1,235 young people from Western Australia (WA) aged 15 to 19 years responded to Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2013 To view the Western Australia breakdown: Page 139 onward. School and study problems ranked the top most concerning for WA young people – coping with stress followed closely behind. Where do young people from WA turn for information, advice and support?

  • The internet was the primary source of information for young people (69.5%), followed by parent/s (51.0%) and magazines (45.8%).
  • Respondents felt most comfortable going to friend/s (63.6%), parent/s (54.7%) and relatives/family friends (51.2%) for advice.
  • Friend/s (66.6%) were again the primary source of support for young people, followed by parent/s (58.6%) and relatives/family friends (49.1%).
  • Almost two thirds of young people from WA (64.2%) indicated that they were not comfortable using a telephone hotline for advice, support or information, 59.7% were not comfortable using an online counselling website and 49.7% were not comfortable contacting a community agency.postquote1

So what could this mean for those who work in the youth sector? The trending of peer to peer based approaches to support young people and disseminate information through, could be worth reviewing – further deepening the support provided to parents appears to be worth considering as portals for providing sound advice to young people. If the internet is the greatest information source, then what is your website looking like? What does this look like in the realm of social media and hand-held devices? What changes if any, will you be making in 2014 to meet the preferences/needs of young people? We would love to hear you thoughts on what approaches work for you! Team IIOY All information has been obtained from the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2013 and we would like to acknowledge Mission Australia for collecting this great data. Website:

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A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Fresh off the press! A must read for 2013!

Click on the highlighted text below:
A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Our second Report Card continues the National Mental Health Commission’s commitment for change, building upon the foundations and whole of life scope established in our inaugural Report Card, A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, released exactly 12 months ago.postquote1

Happy reading!
IIOY crew.

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Professional webinar…Could video games be good for you?

Are you about this coming Thursday the 28th? If so, QUT’s Dr Daniel Johnson, Young and Well CRC Director Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Youth Brains Trust member Rori Hancock are hosting a webinar on Videogames and Wellbeing: A Comprehensive Review at 4pm AEST.

The comprehensive review will cover the key findings of Videogames and Wellbeing: A Comprehensive Review and discuss the investigation of more than 200 publications. The report uncovers strong links between gaming and positive mental health – challenging the way professionals think about videogames and wellbeing.

Participating in this webinar will allow health professionals and support workers to expand their understanding of the creative, social and emotional benefits associated with playing videogames and, in turn, increase their confidence in discussing gaming with young people.postquote1

To register your interest follow this link.

ps. IIOY hopes your ‘Movember’ was a successful one! Our profile picture is in honour of such a great cause!

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