Learning life-changing lessons through mental health courses

9 March 2017

A series of free mental health courses are empowering people in the Surf Coast Shire to assist young people with mental illness.

The Surf Coast Youth Development Team is co-ordinating Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) courses. It follows last year’s Surf Coast Shire Council youth survey which identified the health and wellbeing of young people as a key issue.

The 14-hour YMHFA courses will be held in Lorne on 14 and 15 March, and in Torquay on 4 and 5 April. Participants will learn about the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and the importance of early detection so the young person is treated and supported.

Surf Coast Shire Council Deputy Mayor Carol McGregor is a psychologist with extensive experience working with young people. Cr McGregor said the strong interest in the sessions – which have quickly reached capacity – shows the community wants to play its role in supporting young people.

“We had 650 responses to the youth survey last year and the results showed a strong health and wellbeing link,” she said.

“We asked our youth for their thoughts and now we’re responding to their needs by running these free courses. We’re equipping people with the information and tools they need to support young people who are developing or experiencing mental illness.”

Since last year’s survey results, Council has also hosted Mental Health First Aid for the Suicidal Person and Teen Mental Health First Aid courses.

“The teen course has been held in schools across Surf Coast Shire,” Cr McGregor said.

“The survey told us that young people with mental illness are likely to seek support from their friends and family. Through the courses we’re offering, we’re trying to ensure these people have the knowledge and skills to assist their loved ones.”

To register your interest in a future Council-run mental health course, please email bedwards@surfcoast.vic.gov.au or phone 0438 954 710.