Aug 14, 2012

Summit on Youth Suicide

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, was proud to host a “Summit on Youth Suicide” in-conjunction with the City of Casey, which took place at the City of Casey Council Chambers on Saturday 11th August 2012 between 2pm and 4pm.

After listening to the tragic stories of young people taking their own lives in the local area over recent months, Anthony Byrne convened a community summit to address the issue of young people taking their own lives in our region.

Cr Sam Aziz, Mayor of the City of Casey, delivered some opening remarks before Anthony Byrne officially opened the “Summit on Youth Suicide”.

‘This summit is about our youth and giving them a chance to tell their stories. It is about giving our youth the opportunity to explain the challenges that they are confronting with dealing with friends who have recently taken their own lives in the community. By giving our youth a chance for their voices to be heard then we will be in a better position to create preventative measures that fully address the concerns raised by our youth,’ said Mr Byrne.

The keynote speaker was Patrick McGorry, former Australian of the Year 2010 and Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health, who made it clear that “suicide is preventable but to solve the problem we must first talk about it”.

‘Unlike the road toll, which has reduced by one third to 1,600 deaths a year and continues to decline, suicide remains a taboo subject and is sidelined in social policy’, said Mr McGorry
‘Our lack of conversation around the topic has only endorsed the silence that surrounds our young people who often feel too ashamed, too guilty and too stigmatised to put up their hand and ask for help,’ said Mr McGorry.

‘By asking a young person about these feelings we will give them permission to talk, and in most cases they will feel relieved and better able to overcome periods of suicidality. If effective help is provided suicidal urges almost always subside,’ said McGorry.

Jo Robinson, Co-ordinator for suicide prevention research at Orygen Youth Health, also spoke about the need for a multi-faceted approach to preventing youth suicide including using new e-health initiatives such as “Re Frame it’. While, Dani Rothwell, a local Year 12 student provided an inspirational address, as she noted how sick she was of seeing so many young people losing their lives and that now it was time to act.

“I wish to thank all our guest speakers, our MC Tracey Ezard and our partners to our summit including the City of Casey, Headspace, Southern Health, the Beehive Foundation, Windermere, Crisis Support Services and Enlighten Education for all their work in setting up stalls and providing information about services and programs for the local community”, said Mr Byrne.

“This summit is just the first step in trying to tackle this issue that is of great concern to members of the local community. The key with the summit was to make sure that the community’s voices were heard and now the task is to take action to form a local working group to address the issue and to campaign for more youth mental health services in our local area”, said Mr Byrne.
Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.


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