How young people can access peer support networks for mental health
At least 1 in 7 young Western Australians aged 4-17 will experience mental health trouble in their lifetimes. Some estimates put the figure closer to 1 in 4, and the prevalence of mental illness in young people has been steadily climbing for over a decade.
For many young people, peer support (also known as group therapy) is an effective and essential part of treating mental illness like anxiety, depression or addiction. Peer support also provides a safe environment for domestic violence and bullying victims to talk about their experience.
Peer support networks give young people in Perth the strength, support and resilience to deal with mental health issues, where they might otherwise be left to face these (often deep-rooted) problems alone.
Leading peer support organisations in WA
According to Youth Focus, “sharing lived experiences is an important part of mental health recovery, and is the foundation of our Group-based Therapy Program.”
Youth Focus provides Counselling, education, peer support, mentoring and other frontline services all across the state, to directly help thousands of young Western Australians every year.
Through their long-running peer support programs, Freedom Centre aims to “empower young people to be themselves; be confident; make healthy, informed choices and respect both their own diversity as well as others’.”
Run by young people, and for young people, Freedom Centre is the shining example of a safe space for people with diverse sexuality, gender and sex in WA.
YCounselling is a multi-faceted program including peer support sessions and Counselling opportunities for young people aged 12-25 and their families.
As a leading mental health support network in WA, YCounselling provides a safe space for people dealing with mental illness, trauma, gender identity, stress and many other critical issues.
WAAMH announces a new facility by 2023
In June 2020 the WA Minister for Health announced a $56 million mental health funding package which includes funding for:
- $25 million towards a new 16-bed youth transitional accommodation service, expected to open in 2023
- $6 million towards COVID-19 mental health initiatives to help people recover from the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic
The 16-bed facility is the first of its kind in Western Australia, where a youth residential mental health service will integrate alcohol and drug rehabilitation alongside other essential treatments.
The Government says this is the first step towards implementing the high-level mental health strategy A Safe Place, A Western Australian strategy to provide safe and stable accommodation, and support to people experiencing mental health, alcohol and other drug issues 2020-2025. The strategy maps out the State Government’s approach to supporting people’s access to accommodation and support.
Want to know more about becoming a Peer Support Worker in WA’s mental health sector? TSA offers a Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, as well as a wide range of Counselling courses. Turn your passion into a fulfilling career with our nationally-recognised qualifications.