HAVING known people who have committed suicide, it makes sense Will Austin is determined to raise awareness about the issue.
So when the 17-year-old returned from this year’s National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy Many Voices, One Future camp, he had one mission in mind.
“The purpose of the camp was to start up five campaigns of our own,” Will said.
“Me and 11 others started a campaign on suicide prevention.”
Entitled R U OK? Community Conversations, the campaign encourages people to have meaningful conversations with friends and family in a bid to save lives.
“The message is not only going out to indigenous youths, it’s going out to everyone,” Will said.
“There are some people out there who feel isolated or feel like nobody cares and we need to sit down with them and have meaningful conversations with them so they feel worthy of someone’s time.
“We need to stop the issue before it becomes an issue.”
Will’s passion to help the community was the reason he applied to attend the youth leadership camp.
The St Patrick’s College student was then selected as one of 51 indigenous youth from across the country to attend and was the only representative at the camp from Ballarat.
Will said the camp changed his life and allowed him to discover his true self, his passion and his culture.
“We are losing members of our generation and of our culture.
“As the up-and-coming generation, it is our role to make the change that needs to happen and that is what we want to be remembered for.”
National R U OK? Day takes place on September 12 this year.
For more information, visit facebook.com/pages/R-U-OK-Community-Conversations
Anyone experiencing difficulties should contact Lifeline on 13 11 44.