INNER STRUGGLE: Youth of the Southern Downs will be able to access new services through the pandemic.
INNER STRUGGLE: Youth of the Southern Downs will be able to access new services through the pandemic.

Growing concerns for youth mental health

NEW services have been established to combat growing concerns over the state of youth mental health on the Southern Downs.

The Granite Belt Neighbourhood centre has just secured a grant for a ‘Seasons of Growth’ program designed to help young people through grief and loss funded by Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

Youth worker Desley Hedges said the region’s young people were dealing with a different form of loss.

“I think there’s a lot of grief and loss around farmers, how they have to manage for long periods of time with limited water during drought, managing to finance mortgages and send their children to school,” she said.

“That impacts on the children as well when the parents are stressed.”

Ms Hedges said the series of unforeseen and uncontrollable events experienced in the region have caused significant anxiety among young people.

“And then COVID-19 well that’s totally new, it’s something we haven’t coped with before at all and I have seen impacts on clients that I work with daily here,” she said.

“Children not being able to go to school, teenagers having to work from home, low income parents not having computers to access to teach their children.

“The fear from children about what COVID is, that’s on top of everything else.”

The program will also work will schools, and will teach coping strategies children can develop with their parents.

Ms Hedges said the program will be ongoing for children aged between 8 and 18, with details yet to be worked out due to COVID-19.

This comes as The Primary Health Network announced a new child and youth mental health support service, Youthrive, providing psychological therapies across the Darling Downs and West Moreton regions via telehealth.

PHN CEO Merrilyn Strohfeldt said Youthrive was an important new service for the region.

“Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in our region is a priority for our PHN,” Ms Strohfeldt said.

“This is particularly important due to our current environment with COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing measures.”

For more information on Seasons of Growth, call the Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre on 4681 3777.



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