Parkes Shire Council Invests In Youth Mental Health

Published on 09 May 2024

Parkes Shire Council is pleased to announce the successful delivery of youth mental health sessions in local schools and community information forums. These sessions were made possible through funding from the NSW Government.

The initiative, focusing on youth projects, was prompted by community feedback revealing widespread concerns about mental health, particularly following the challenging conditions brought about by one of the worst droughts the shire had on record.

Council went to tender, and the supplier Batyr was selected. Batyr had been working in the Parkes Shire for a number of years and was familiar with our local communities. They are a 'for-purpose' mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people.

Over a two-year period, despite Covid-19 restrictions necessitating remote sessions, the program successfully engaged local youth and community members. A roundtable event was held in Parkes and brought together numerous youth mental health support services, facilitating networking and producing a comprehensive service provider listing.

A total of eight programs were conducted across schools in Parkes, Trundle, Tullamore, and Peak Hill, targeting students in years 9 to 12. Additionally, two parent forums and a community forum were organised to equip parents and community members with strategies to support youth facing mental health challenges.

Mayor of Parkes Shire, Neil Westcott, emphasised the program's impact on the mental health of youth.

"We believe this program has significantly enhanced mental health awareness among local students, empowering them to seek and provide support. While unconventional for a local council, the need was evident, and this grant opportunity allowed us to make a meaningful contribution in this critical area," Mayor Westcott said. 

Feedback from participating students has been overwhelmingly positive, with 70% rating the program as highly engaging. One student from Parkes High School expressed, "Batyr was motivational, and the speeches inspired me to express my need for help and to check in more on my friends."

Parkes Shire Council is committed to supporting youth mental health and fostering strong resilience and well-being among young residents.


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