Youth Suicide Awareness

        

A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN ROTARY CLUBS, THE ROYAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL & THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE ADDRESSES YOUTH SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA

Graduates receiving their Diplomas in Adolescent Health: More than 140 graduates have received support from Rotary Clubs to complete their training since 1996.

Youth Suicide is still a taboo subject. A recent survey conducted in the United Kingdom asked: Would you talk to someone if you were feeling suicidal? One third of respondents said they wouldn’t at all. Part of our aim with this project is to break down the stigma, to get young people to open up and talk to people if they have suicidal feelings.

Youth Suicide in Australia: Some Facts.

  • In Australia, young people are the only group whose health has not improved over the past three decades.
  • Suicide is the largest single cause of death of teenagers, and represents 19% of all deaths between the ages of 10 and 24.
  • In Australia we can expect that more than 300 young people will take their own lives this year.
  • Sadly for each reported suicide, there are more than twenty suicide attempts in this age group.
  • The causes remain perplexingly complex, but common risk factors can be identified.
  • Many victims have experienced bullying at school.
  • Most have never received any form of counselling.
  • More than one third have experimented with illicit and prescribed drugs.
  • Many have come into contact with the police.
  • Significantly, more than half have experienced a recent break-up in a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • More than 75% of all mental health problems manifest themselves before the age of twenty five

It is critical that strategies focus on early intervention - Rotarians can help in practical ways

Many Rotary Clubs in District 9800 and beyond have acknowledged this need, providing financial support to Victoria’s Centre for Adolescent Health. At present there are no fewer than 8 major research projects with immediate relevance to youth suicide underway or recently completed.

The Centre operates within Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital and is affiliated with The University of Melbourne and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

Since 1996, a Youth Suicide Awareness Committee, founded by the Rotary Club of Brighton North and now a District Endorsed program, has sought funding from Rotary Clubs throughout Victoria, and friends of Rotary, to enable teachers, police officers, youth and social workers, school nurses and corrections officers to complete a Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

The course is administered by the University of Melbourne and the Centre, where the emphasis is primarily on young people in the settings in which they live and work – school, home and the community. The Centre’s primary focus rests in providing a holistic and practical approach that professionals can use in their work-places.

More than 140 graduates have received scholarships or financial support from Rotary. It is pleasing to report that more than 30 graduates are Victoria Police officers, many of whom have been supported by the Rotary Club of Central Melbourne Sunrise through the Silk-Miller Scholarship. The Rotary Clubs of Camberwell, Canterbury, Brighton North, Brighton Beach, Altona Central, Albert Park and Yarraville are among those who consistently allocate funds from their Youth Committee budgets.

The Rotary Club of Brighton North has committed more than $30,000.00 in funding for scholarships over the past three years and is seeking suitable candidates to undertake further studies. We would like very much to support professionals who are working within indigenous communities in Victoria, or professionals working with youth in the Club’s Bayside precinct.

For a speaker or further information about how you can support this project, or seek scholarship support, please contact Janine Stratford on 0400 120 822 or Richard Potter on 0419 303 545.


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