PONDER for a moment, if you were Prime Minister for a day, what would you do to promote youth mental health? Read on for a Ballarat teenager's response.
YUILLE Park student Jayden Ormrod says listening to adults speak about how they had grown through mental health struggles helped reinforce it was important to be vulnerable sometimes.
"That's heavy stuff to get up and talk about in front of so many people you don't know," Mr Ormrod said. "The biggest mental health issue (with youth) is they don't really talk much."
Meeting new people from schools across Ballarat was Mr Ormrod's aim for the inaugural YMCA Ballarat Youth Summit in Delcombe on Friday.
More than 50 student representatives from schools across the region had the chance to speak up in the forum on mental health issues for young people in their community, what support was good and what organisations could do better.
Ballarat Clarendon College student Eloise Amirtharajah said guest speakers and other students had reinforced that everyone has different issues and ways of dealing with stresses.
"Being in year 11 is more stressful than other year levels but it is good to talk to each other," Ms Amirtharajah said.
"Social media is one of the biggest issues in youth mental health. Social media can be good, you can talk to people who aren't there with you but there is also so much pressure to focus on being more like people you see on social media, rather than focus on focus on making your lifestyle to suit yourself."
The Stand Up Youth Summit was designed as a chance for the YMCA to find out what matters most to young people in the region in a bid to better advocate for youth to community organisations and government.
The summit featured guest speakers and smaller group workshops in a bid to delve deeper into well-being issues. Youth-focused organisations across the region, including headspace Ballarat, offered in-kind support.
YMCA Ballarat chief executive officer Brooke LeSueur looked forward to work through outcomes from the summit and be better informed of youth from a wide-range of school and social backgrounds.
"They're the most inspiring thing here. They've chosen the last day of school for the term to come here and make a difference," Ms LeSueur said. "It's an opportunity to have their voices heard...For us to help inspire and make a difference, we need to listen to them."
With a federal election looming, youth were asked to consider:
If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would you do to help mental health for young people?
Allowing people to have more access to school counsellors. They often make it seem like you have to be struggling to speak with a counsellor but sometimes, it can be nice to have someone available if you just want to talk.Eloise Amirtharajah
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