HMAS Harman conducted a Youth Mental Health Awareness Session last week as the first of a number of joint initiatives by the Harman command team and Defence Community Organisation (DCO).
Sponsored by the Harman Welfare Committee, the session was open to all Australian Military and Defence APS members with emphasis on providing information to young service members, managers of young people and parents of teenagers and young adults. Attendance at the session did not disappoint with 70 representatives from across Defence, as well as Defence Transition Mentors from a number of local primary and high schools.
Director General Navy Health, Commodore Elizabeth Rushbrook, highlighted the importance of awareness and support for mental health of personnel within the defence community both at sea and ashore.
“Mental health conditions are common, and it is important that we all have the information and skills to recognise and deal with them when they arise” Commodore Rushbrook said.
Nicole Hubbard, Service Integration Manager of headspace Canberra was the key speaker for the session and provided key information on the issues facing young people, what options they have and where to find the help they need. Headspace is a national organisation that provides support to young people aged 12 to 25 years who are experiencing emotional or mental health issues and/or a substance use issues. The organisation is funded by the Australian Government under the Youth Mental Health Initiative Program.
As well as headspace the session was supported with presentations and provided resources from external organisations Lifeline; beyondblue; the Black Dog Institute; ACT Government Community Services; and ReachOut.
At the end of the session the Harman Welfare Committee provided a BBQ and an opportunity for guests to mingle and talk to service providers which included psychologists, social workers, chaplains, Navy Health Service and DCO representatives.
Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Commander Jayne Craig, said she was pleased with the session and is looking forward to the positive outcomes from it and future events.
“After a number of concerns were identified in the Canberra region directly impacting the welfare of Navy personnel, the Harman Command Team and Welfare Committee established a calendar of events for the remainder of the year and beyond," Commander Craig said.
"These events directly target specific groups, allow for networking opportunities to help keep people connected and promote the wellbeing and development of all Navy people.” she said.