Rural Youth Mental Health Outreach program launched in Parkes

LAUNCHED: At the official launch of the The Rural Youth Mental Health service - back, from left - Andrew Harvey (CEO Western NSW Primary Health Network), Phil Naden (CEO Bila Muuji), Beck O'Connor (Director Child and Family Services The Benevolent Society), Pam Renata (Assistant to the CEO Bila Muuji), Vicki Lynar (Senior Practitioner The Benevolent Society); front - Dee Anderson (Yoorana Gunya), Donna Bliss (Yoorana Gunya), Jinnara Tyson (Rural Youth Mental Health The Benevolent Society), Amy Carrington (Manager The Benevolent Society), Kylie Manners (Team Leader The Benevolent Society). Photo: Barbara Watt.
LAUNCHED: At the official launch of the The Rural Youth Mental Health service - back, from left - Andrew Harvey (CEO Western NSW Primary Health Network), Phil Naden (CEO Bila Muuji), Beck O'Connor (Director Child and Family Services The Benevolent Society), Pam Renata (Assistant to the CEO Bila Muuji), Vicki Lynar (Senior Practitioner The Benevolent Society); front - Dee Anderson (Yoorana Gunya), Donna Bliss (Yoorana Gunya), Jinnara Tyson (Rural Youth Mental Health The Benevolent Society), Amy Carrington (Manager The Benevolent Society), Kylie Manners (Team Leader The Benevolent Society). Photo: Barbara Watt.

Mental health challenges in rural areas of Australia are particularly concerning, with statistics showing that one in four young people experience mental health concerns over a 12-month period.  

To help tackle this significant issue, The Benevolent Society – one of Australia’s oldest charities – has partnered with Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service – an organisation that provides Primary Health Care representation to the Aboriginal Medical Services across the Western and Far West of NSW – to offer the Rural Youth Mental Health (RYMH) service.

The Rural Youth Mental Health service is a mobile community outreach program to support young people between the ages of 12 and 25 in rural areas of NSW, to overcome mental health challenges and isolation.

The program is funded by the Western New South Wales Primary Health Network.

The official launch of the RYMH service at Parkes High School on Monday, October 22, coincided with Mental Health Month 2018 and featured a barbecue, fun activities and information about youth well being.

The RYMH service is free of charge and offers therapeutic services, group work and case management services within community centres, schools, homes, TAFE and other outreach settings across 11 regional areas of NSW including Parkes, Cobar, Condobolin, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Cowra, Forbes, Gilgandra, Nyngan, Narromine,and Walgett.

Flexible clinical services will be provided by mental health clinicians, both within and after business-hours.

Amie Carrington, Manager Child and Family Services Western NSW for The Benevolent Society said all of the work is focused on building the social and emotional well being of young people. 

“We want to help young people recognise and manage their mental health concerns,” Amie said.

“We want to reduce the barriers that young people face to accessing primary mental health services in rural NSW and reduce the impact of a range of difficulties on a young person’s health and well being.”

“Our aim is to work together with young people to arrange a personal service based on their own strengths and needs

“We will also focus on the young person’s broader needs such as housing, education, employment, physical health and social supports, and take an integrative approach to working with other services.”

CEO of Bila Muuji Phil Naden agreed the success of the project will be because of the partnership arrangement with The Benevolent Society and Bila Muuji.

“The integrity of this project will be upheld by both organisations to ensure that our core focus is to work with youth people and to improve their overall Social and Emotional Wellbeing and mental health,” Mr Naden said.