✦ BBQ, Mural Art and an important message for youths to leave unrealistic expectations behind and reach out for support was what it was all about.
On Wednesday 4th October, headspace Port Macquarie opened its doors to the public in celebration of National headspace day - an annual awareness day that highlights the importance of youth mental health.
The open-day style event was a super success with a mixture of youth and community enjoying a free sausage sizzle, art and craft activities, a creative mural project led by local street artist Brad Collins, followed by our signature ‘green’ cake to sweeten the occasion.
headspace Youth Reference Group volunteers encouraged attendees to colourfully decorate the centre’s affirmation wall with a variety of unrealistic expectations they will be letting go this year. Community members of all ages reflected on the pressures they feel in life and found a shared goal in prioritising their mental health and wellbeing.
The headspace Day activity, a mural art workshop, gave the community the opportunity to learn new skills and express themselves through painting. The piece came together superbly representing Port Macquarie’s local landscape, in particular our birdlife. The artwork was affectionally named Perri the Pelican by one of the young people who helped bring the painting to life.
Perri has now been dubbed as the unofficial mascot of headspace Port Macquarie.
Ditch impossible expectations
Beyond the food and fun, the day delivered an important message to young people about ditching impossible expectations, the unrealistic goals society and social media places on them and encouraging them to reach out if they need support.
headspace CEO Jason Trethowan recognises many young people face expectations from various directions – from their families, schools, workplaces, social media and from within themselves. “Too many young people still feel they have to manage these expectations on their own,” said Mr Trethowan.
New data from the headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey reveals two in five young Australians prefer to deal with their emotional problems alone, so headspace Port Macquarie reminded young people that support is always available.
For locals, the open day presented an opportunity to highlight the issues from the survey, while dismantling the stigma attached to help-seeking by showcasing the centre's extensive program of services.
“For young people that may be struggling, it’s important they know help is there for them and how to access it. Today is all about young people letting go of life’s pressures, coming together and having a good time,” said headspace Port Macquarie Community Engagement Officer Emily Lawson, who coordinated the open day.
“The 2023 headspace day and key messages it brings are timely reminders that headspace can support young people in a variety of ways. We are a one-stop shop where young people can get support for not only their mental health, but work and study, drug and alcohol, and even health checks with our nurse or GP.”
Young people aged 12 to 25, as well as their family and friends, can visit headspace Port Macquarie for support. Help is also available via phone and online counselling service eheadspace seven days a week between 9am–1am (AEST). The number is 1800 650 890.
If you’re looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24/7.
For event information email: Emily.Lawson@each.com.au
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