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Advisory Committees: Commissioner releases final reports

Depression, stress, self-harm and suicide – these are some of the most significant mental health issues affecting young people today, according to students who participated in the Commissioner’s 2017 Advisory Committees.

This feedback has been addressed in a recently released report entitled Co-designing technologies to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people", which outlines how the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people can be better supported through the use of social media and technology.

Throughout the year, the Advisory Committees worked on a co-design process to identify the key mental health issues and barriers to young people accessing help in their community and workshopped technological solutions that could improve outcomes for children and young people in their area, including the development of an app wireframe.

The Commissioner Colin Pettit said an important element of the students’ work was that they sought the views of their peers.

“About 150 young people were asked about what they thought were the biggest mental health issues for young people, and the reasons that may stop them from seeking help or support. This is an extraordinary number of consultations and the findings clearly demonstrate this feedback,” Mr Pettit said.

“The wireframe, if developed based on their ideas, would allow young people to interact with their peers or other trusted support people, express themselves creatively and improve their knowledge about events and services that are available to them.

“The level of commitment and consideration these students have undertaken this year to address the issue of mental health, and progress a solution that is so well tailored to this cohort is commendable, and I congratulate all members,” Mr Pettit said.

The Commissioner will next year form a committee in metropolitan Perth with young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex, and aged between 15 to 20 years to discuss issues that concern them. Their views will influence the focus and direction of the Commissioner’s advocacy work, directly informing a wide range of research, policy and advocacy initiatives.