Young people taking charge of their mental health

Young people taking charge of their mental health

Connect Health & Community and Brighton Secondary College have had great success working in partnership on Boss Brain, an innovative peer-led youth mental health program for the school community.

Youth mental health has been identified as a growing priority in Bayside and Glen Eira municipalities. With support from a range of partners (see below), Connect Health & Community have been working to address this important issue for local young people and have developed and launched Boss Brain , a unique initiative which aims to increase mental health literacy and help-seeking behaviours whilst reducing the stigma associated with mental illness among the school community.

Boss Brain is designed to help build the capacity of young people to raise awareness of mental health among their peers. In 2020, the initiative was modified to adapt to the rapidly changing needs of young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As part of the initiative, 23 students participated in teen mental health first aid training, which teaches school students how to provide mental health first aid to their friends. Brighton Secondary College students then co-designed a youth mental health project with support from Connect Health & Community. The students worked together to create a video that featured an interview with a mental health practitioner from headspace.

All Year 11 and 12 students viewed the video, and 239 (of 250 viewers) completed an online survey, demonstrating that after seeing the video:

  • 73% had a better understanding of where to go for help for a mental health concern
  • 66% had a better understanding of mental health and how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • 52% were more likely to seek support for a mental health concern
  • 55% were more comfortable to openly discuss their mental health.

The project team was thrilled with the project results. Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said: β€œThe initiative has been very well received within the student community and survey results demonstrate that the Boss Brain project has the potential to continue making a positive impact in the community, especially during such turbulent times for young people.”

A Year 12 student said: β€œAll our Year 11s and 12s sat down at the same time and watched the video we made. This was the first time anything like this has ever happened at our school. It sends a very clear message that this is something our school takes seriously, and it was an important step to raising the profile of mental health as an important issue to tackle together.”

Boss Brain was developed and is governed by Connect Health & Community in partnership with headspace (Elsternwick/Bentleigh Branch), Bayside City Council, Glen Eira Council, Bayside Glen Eira Kingston Local Learning & Employment Network and Holmesglen Institute. Connect Health & Community acknowledge and thank the Bendigo Bank Cluster of Bayside Branches for funding this initiative through their Community Grants program.

Do you know a school in the Bayside/Glen Eira catchment area that would like to participate in Boss Brain Project? Email the team to express your interest.

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