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What is the Youth Connectors program?

As a peer-based mental health initiative, the Act Belong Commit Youth Connectors Program engages young people aged 16 to 25 with the broad goal to increase young people’s awareness of mental health and the Act Belong Commit principles and to encourage the adoption of mentally healthy behaviours. More specifically it aims to:

  • Increase awareness of and encourage young Western Australians to adopt mentally healthy behaviours
  • Increase resilience amongst youth aged 16 to 25 in both regional and metro areas of WA
  • Increase awareness of mental health to encompass wellbeing, de-stigmatise mental illness, and encourage help-seeking behaviour
  • Increase participation in mentally healthy activities.

The Youth Connectors program was developed in response to requests from young people wanting to become actively involved in the Act Belong Commit campaign, and particularly in disseminating the message amongst their peers. Considerable research shows that peer education can be an effective health promotion strategy.

The Youth Connectors program was originally developed with funding from an Australian Health Promotion Association graduate scholarship and in consultation with 35 young people across regional and metro WA.

The most useful part of the workshop is the support network that is opened up to a person as a youth connector. We can talk to other youth connectors, we have access to resources to encourage people to seek professional advice and help, as well as defining that ‘I am not a doctor, I am a friend.

Workshop participant, June 2016

What was the impact of Youth Connectors program?

An evaluation of the Youth Connectors program (2017 – 2019) showed it made an impact in changing the way young people think – and talk – about mental health.

When the Youth Connectors program was implemented, over 286 passionate young people between the ages of 16 to 25 were trained to be ‘Connectors’ for their metro and regional communities across Western Australia.

Over 30 workshops were facilitated within eight partner schools, two alternative education programs, three Universities, various youth groups and Youth Advisory Councils.

A talk given to school students

Youth Connector workshop participants engaged in Capel.

Evaluation data showed that the program significantly increasing young people’s confidence in:

  • Applying the Act Belong Commit message to their own mental health
  • Explaining the value of acting, belonging, committing to others
  • Talking to other people about being mentally healthy, mental health and mental illness
  • Helping others to be more involved in mentally healthy activities

In 2017, one of our Youth Connectors won the Youth category in the 2017 Mental Health Week Awards.

Is the Youth Connectors program currently being implemented?

The Act Belong Commit Youth Connectors program is currently unfunded in Western Australia but is being implemented through Act Belong Commit Partnerships in other states and internationally, for example in Singleton, by Newcastle University.
If you would like to find out more about the program, please get in touch.

How can we get involved?

Please contact us if you have questions about the Youth Connectors program or you would like to get involved in its delivery.