Having arrived in Brighton last night after dark, I used my morning run today to get myself acquainted with this lively beachside town. How do I describe this place? Take a handful of Bondi, add a dash of Newtown or Glebe (whichever you have readily available) add a sprinkling of The Rocks and a big splash of Luna Park – mix until well combined, allow to set and serve chilled (out). I took a couple of snaps today as we made our way to dinner:
This bustling town is home to an eclectic bunch of pleasant folk and serves as a great location for the International Youth Mental Health Conference, which kicked off today at Brighton Dome.
Today’s pre-conference workshop was entitled ‘Twitter ain’t just for twits: using technology to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people’. The workshop was coordinated by the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre and various partner organisations including Headspace, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and the Inspire Foundation. This was wonderfully heartening – Australian organisations coming together to display best practice on an international platform. The good news is that it is clear in Australia that we have set the agenda right and we are on the right track, with many different organisations catering for the mental health needs in new and innovative ways. We heard presentations today on a range of different topics, including a detailed explanation of the Young and Well CRC and the work that it is doing – please check out their website here if you’re not familiar with this organization – particularly if you’re Australian and working in the area of youth mental health. They are right at the core of everything: visit their website here
Another interesting presentation was delivered on eHeadspace and the unique service that this provides to our young people. The number of subscribers to this online service is so significant that eHeadspace have not done anything to promote the service as of yet because they are just managing to serve the needs of the thousands who have already signed on. eHeadspace is a groundbreaking new way for young people to access clinical help. More and more mental health service providers are embracing the platform of online communication to reach young people where they are most likely to go to seek support – and it seems that young people are responding and embracing this method of support. You can read more information about eHeadspace here.
The range of other presentations presented a variety of apps and online tools that have been developed for young adults in the area of responsible digital citizenship and overall wellbeing. I’ve included these on the resources page of my blog – feel free to check them out – be sure to share them with your colleagues and use them at will! We also learnt about the potential to engage with colleagues and other professionals using Twitter and another session presented by representatives from the Australian and Irish branches of Reachout.com, explaining the evolution of Reach Out and how it has now been successfully launched in Ireland. Another fantastic achievement for this Australian organization.
One thing that has been really clear as I’ve been updating the resource page on my blog is the amount of services that are out there for young people and for people working with young people. Associate Professor Jane Burns (CEO of Young and Well CRC) delivered the final session today and spoke about the future direction of youth mental health in Australia – the path to be forged now is to work horizontally to ensure that each unique service is connected and to streamline the processes for young people so that it is seamless for them in regard to accessing the best service for them. As Jane stated today, it’s about young people getting the right help at the right time.
I made some great connections today with some delegates working in the area of gatekeeper training and proactive strategies with youth. I’m attending some specialized sessions tomorrow so I’ll be sure to post some findings here tomorrow night.
Cheers for reading my blog – hope you’re finding it helpful my faithful followers. I’m off to bed!