As part of the Penrith Youth Interagency (PYI) a working group was established called Risky Business which is run by local service providers within Penrith with a focus on bringing awareness to young people on areas such as Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol, Sexual Health and Healthy Relationships.
Young people can struggle with many of the unsafe situations they face, and can make poor decisions due to lack of experience and knowledge. The areas in which the most difficulties arise are:
- Mental Health is thought to be the underlying factor in 90% of youth suicide in Australia alone. Depression is one of the main risks of suicide and self harm, and reducing the stigma and lack of awareness surrounding mental health in young people can contribute to early intervention and prevention. Providing awareness is key to getting young people support in the early stages.
- Drug & Alcohol use has seen a recent increase in young people, especially Ice (Crystal Methamphetamine). Ice is seen to be the ‘popular’, easily accessible street drug. 7% of young eople in Australia aged 14 years & over have used meth/amphetamines (which also includes Ice) one or more times in their lives.
- Chlamydia is actually the most commonly reported STI in young people in Australia. It’s caused by bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis and it can be passed on through sexual fluids during oral, vaginal and anal sex. Encouraging sexually active young people to get regular check ups is very important.
- From 15-19 years, romantic relationships can become central to social life. Friendships might become deeper and more stable. When a parent encourages conversations about feelings, friendships and family relationships, it can help the young person feel confident to talk about teenage relationships in general.
Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior. It’s therefore essential that we promote healthy relationship behaviours to young people so they can learn to identify positive behaviours and know when to walk away from an unhealthy relationship.
To promote awareness, and open the conversation for young people and their families, the Risky Business Working Group has decided to run the Cranebrook Trivia Challenge towards the end of Term 3. Light refreshments will be provided, and many prizes can be won including an iPad Mini, Movie Vouchers, and iTune Cards. Please contact Nerida for more information on a date and times on 02 47 293 907.
If you know of any Young People needing help or assistance please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800-55-1800.