Tackling mental health head on
WITH the national Drug Action Week due to kick off this Sunday, one NSW youth worker plans to make it much more than a token effort.
Byron Underage Drinking and Drug Initiative (BUDDI) team leader Nicqui Yazdi will run a Mental Health First Aid course specifically designed to address the most-pressing issues facing the Byron Shire and the wider region.
Already a “master trainer” in the Australian-designed course, having run more than 30 courses to assist volunteers at events and festivals like Schoolies Week and Splendour in the Grass, Ms Yazdi said it is open to anyone who works with youth, including the community services, police, teachers and, of course, parents.
“It is a brilliant course now adopted in 17 countries,” she said.
“Here in Australia the focus is on youth, but in say Singapore, where aging is the big issue, they’ve adopted it to the elderly.
“We will be conducting a special Drug Action Week Youth course to highlight the problems that we have in the Byron community.
“The two-day course (for adults living or working with youth) will be held at the Byron Youth Activities Centre on June 20 and 27. This certificate course is open to members of the general public.”
The Byron version of the internationally ground-breaking training course – which won an Excellence in Mental Health Education Award in the United States in 2008 – will cover depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, suicide prevention, non-suicidal self-injury, traumatic events, eating disorders, substance-use disorders and all the various crisis situations that can occur from these problems.
Participants will learn to recognise all the clusters of signs and symptoms, what help is available and how to go about helping someone who is either developing a mental health problem or in a crisissituation.
Participants of the Drug Action Week course will also receive a comprehensive pack of resources from NSW Health, Beyondblue, the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre and more.
But it won’t be all classrooms and blackboards.
“There’ll be other resources like stress balls and frisbees. A big part of looking after your mental health is looking after your body,” she said.