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Muswellbrook Youth Connectors Case Study

Posted 31 May 2019

May 2019 was full of a number of firsts for Mentally Healthy WA’s Youth Connectors Program.

Darci Miller, the Mentally Healthy WA (MHWA) Youth Connectors Program Coordinator, travelled to Muswellbrook in regional New South Wales to run a number of initiatives, including the first:

  • Interstate Youth Connectors workshop
  • Supporters workshop
  • Train the trainer workshops

The Youth Connectors Program

The Act-Belong-Commit Youth Connectors Program  engages young people (“Connectors”) between the ages of 16-25 years in the Act-Belong-Commit principles for good mental health, upskilling them to be able to assist and encourage their peers to engage in mentally healthy activities.As a peer-based mental health initiative, the Youth Connectors Program aims to:

  • Increase awareness and encourage young people to adopt mentally healthy behaviours
  • Increase resilience amongst youth aged 16-25 years
  • Increase awareness of mental health to encompass wellbeing, de-stigmatise mental illness, and encourage help-seeking behaviour
  • Increase participation in mentally healthy activities

Muswellbrook Healthy & Well, one of MHWA’s Act-Belong-Commit Partnership Program members, determined that the Youth Connectors Program was key for them to promote and improve mental health in their community. This was the first interstate extension of the Youth Connectors Program.

“It was a fantastic experience running our first interstate workshop and it is awesome to see the Youth Connectors program expanding to Muswellbrook. I had a lot of fun visiting Muswellbrook to train both Carly and Rebecca to facilitate the Youth Connectors workshops. I know they are going to do an amazing job teaching young people how to be mentally healthy in Muswellbrook and I am really excited to see what the future brings.” – Darci Miller Mentally Healthy WA, Youth Connectors Coordinator

About Muswellbrook Healthy & Well

Muswellbrook Healthy & Well is a community initiative that supports the health and wellbeing of people living and working in the Muswellbrook Shire. The initiative includes the implementation of a community-wide health promotion campaign called Act-Belong-Commit as well as community activities promoting healthy eating and physical activity.

Darci trained both Carly Hughes, Muswellbrook Healthy & Well Local Coordinator and Rebecca Eveleigh, Upper Hunter Community services Youth and Development Officer, to facilitate the Youth Connectors workshop.

three female people indoors

“I am very excited to have completed the Youth Connectors facilitator training with Darci. We are very looking forward to be expanding the program in Muswellbrook and hope to train lots of new young people to become ‘Connectors’.” – Carly Hughes, Muswellbrook Healthy and Well, Local Coordinator

Becoming a Youth Connector

“Darci came all the way from Western Australia to train myself and Carly to become Youth Connectors facilitators. We have had the best week. Darci has been amazing and I have learnt so much. I am excited to run workshops in the Muswellbrook area to become Youth Connectors and I am hoping that this makes a massive difference in the community, teaching young people here about good mental health and what it is to be mentally healthy.” – Rebecca Eveleigh, Upper Hunter Community services Youth and Development Officer

Furthermore, Darci delivered a demonstration workshop with nine local young people, and supported Carly and Rebecca to deliver their first workshop to six students from the Muswellbrook Girls Academy. A ‘Supporters’ workshop was also trialed to engage teachers, youth workers, sporting coaches, parents, police and community role models to learn more about supporting young people to be more mentally healthy.

“I just wanted to let you know that I found the workshop both beneficial and enjoyable. I now have an understanding on how to connect young people to the Act-Belong-Commit message. The workshop provided me with tools to enable me to have positive inputs into supporting young people to proactively keep mentally well. I understand that role modelling for mature aged people in a community, in both professional and personal contexts, is important and am thinking of both role modelling and having conversations around the ways I will choose to Act, Belong and Commit. Thank you for your information, inspiration and enthusiasm.“ – Nicole Rose, Uni4You Project, Muswellbrook Coordinator, Muswellbrook Supporter

Thank you to the Hunter New England and Central Coast Empowering our Communities grant, for making this trip possible. We believe it is going to have lasting impact in the Muswellbrook LGA.

Our Youth Connectors program is currently unfunded. If you would like to find out more about how you can support the program, get in touch.