Grant for girls’ wellbeing program

The Mentally Fit EP Weenas group is taking off. Pictured are, from left: West Coast Youth and Community Support staff member Deena Hywood, Tareeka Kent, Tatiana Wilson, Tilly Saunders and Leilani Betts. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mentally Fit EP has received a $7000 grant from Wellbeing SA which will go towards a nine-week program aimed at suicide prevention for younger females.

The programs have been developed in response to information from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data that showed girls aged 15 to 17 had the highest number of youth suicides, with prevention needed earlier.

LGBTQIA+ and the Indigenous Australian community members are at a higher risk, so Mentally Fit EP is hoping to capture younger females across the community before they reach this age and teach them tools for self-care and positive psychology.

Mentally Fit EP community development officer Lain Montgomerie said this program was in response to a need that had been communicated by young people in the community.

“We’ve gone with the 11 to 14-year-old age bracket, but this can stretch if it’s needed, aiming to give them tools and information before they hit this critical age group,” she said.

“In the nine weeks that we are with them, they will learn choice theory tools, positive psychology, self care-tools and also they will have activities to do and learn within these sessions.

“For example, last week everyone in the Weenas group got a yoga mat and they decorated the mat and this week, they will be making polymer clay key-rings, the idea being they can cement their learnings and take away something they’ve created and the items they need to continue the activity at home.”

Ms Montogmerie said the teens group had not yet started, but would run from the youth hub, while schools would be contacted for recommendations.

However, young women in the community were encouraged to contact Deena Hywood or Lain at West Coast Youth and Community Support’s Mentally Fit EP program if they felt the program would be beneficial to them or for more information.

People can also visit the Facebook page.

“We’re really grateful that the funding we got from Wellbeing SA, it allows us to buy the resources that the young people can use and take home, some of them will have never come across these activities before but we’ve had feedback from young people that they were interested in doing these craft sessions,” Ms Montgomerie said.

“That is why we’ve gone ahead with these extra skills, we hope that they are engaged and take on board what we are teaching.”