Mandurah students taught skills to ‘help a mate’ ahead of R U OK Day | PHOTOS

Local organisations and high schools teamed up on Monday, to address teenage mental health issues and educate students on suicide prevention. 

The event, hosted by Peel Youth Services ahead of R U OK Day, welcomed Year 10 to 12 students from Halls Head College, Coodanup College, Pinjarra High School and John Tonkin College.

Representatives from Headspace, Billy Dower Youth Centre and Moorey’s Martial Arts held various activities on the day.

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Peel Youth Services chief Liz Prescott said Mandurah had several youth suicides in in the past four years.

“It’s something that is quite prevalent,” she said.

“When we see young people, they don’t come to us with one thing, it is multiple things.

“There could be a family break-down, drugs, they could be struggling at school, issues with sexuality, bullying.

Even though there are youth services available, teenagers are more likely to talk to a mate.

Youth worker Rachel Nairn

“It’s never just one thing. It builds until they can’t see any way out.”

Youth worker Rachel Nairn said the aim of the event was to give young people the tools to help their friends.

“Even though there are youth services available, teenagers are more likely to talk to a mate,” she said. 

“That’s what we’re hoping for and we want them to know how to help, when that does happen.”

“It’s a hard thing to know what to do and a lot of pressure on a young person.”

Ms Nairn said there were four steps they had reiterated to students to help them start a conversation around mental health.

“Ask are you okay, listen to them, encourage action and check in – so you don’t just leave them on their own,” she said. 

“We want the kids to take the tools learnt today, back to the school, and become almost like wellness ambassadors.”

For more information on R U OK Day and ways to help your friends or family, visit www.ruok.org.au