Mr BATTIN (Gembrook) — On 28 November I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria local government forum and making a keynote address on behalf of the Minister for Youth Affairs. The event was targeted at communicating to local government the importance of its role and acknowledging the work shared between local and state governments. I had the pleasure of meeting with many local council youth workers and managers from around Victoria, and I relayed the ideas and programs that are operating around the state to the minister. In my electorate in recent weeks I have had many contacts via phone and in person regarding youth suicide, a topic that must be looked at with caution but never ignored, and this topic was discussed on the day of the forum.
Recently 3AW facilitated a public-style forum about suicide which looked for positive ways to address concerns related to suicide and to create a conversation about it in the community. Not that many years ago discussing mental illness was considered taboo. Mental illness was seen as a weakness rather than what it is in reality — an illness. Through community campaigns by groups such as beyondblue and through promotions by all levels of government we are breaking down that misconception and telling people it is okay to say, ‘I am unwell and need help’.
I do not know the best way to deal with the issues surrounding youth suicide, and I do not have the answers. I have two daughters who will one day be teens, and I hope that, if they need to, they will be able to talk to me, my wife or a friend about the pressures they feel. I trust that one day we will be able to work with our communities to talk about youth suicide and will encourage future generations to see that it is okay to say, ‘I need help’.
|Title||Youth: suicide prevention|