Promoting resilience and hope in our community

Community stories eNews: 24 June 2021

A 2015 survey identified mental health, bullying, educational opportunities, personal safety, and drug and alcohol use as the top five issues of concern to local youth in the West Tamar.

To enhance the mental and physical wellbeing of its youth, the West Tamar Council in Tasmania partnered with the youth advisory committee (YAC) to create nine short videos addressing the key issues facing young people within the community.   

YAC of the West Tamar is a group of 20 youths, aged 13 to 21 years old, who regularly liaise with the Council to actively engage the community and run events for local youth. Using a $6,000 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant, generously funded by Findex, they collaborated with Think Media to develop nine videos. Collectively titled ‘HOPE’, which stands for ‘Helping our Peers Educate’, the films promote positive health and wellbeing.

Through consultation with student representatives of local high schools, YAC members developed the script, interviewed young people about their personal stories and appointed youth to roles including director, interviewer, and editor. They also designed a room, named it ‘The Den’ and worked with youth workers to create a safe place for students to connect, belong and support each other with their needs.

The videos were shared during Youth Week at events in Launceston and Hobart, shown during Mental Health Week, and also formally presented to Council at a workshop. In addition, the videos, were distributed through local schools.

Mayor Christina Holmdahl said it was an important step in promoting and increasing resilience amongst the community’s youth.

“As the West Tamar is a regional community, access to support and services can be limiting for young people. Promoting a video resource which can be accessed all hours is vital, along with the creation of a safe place at their school,” she said.

The films are now a vital resource for the 4,500 young people living in the West Tamar, as they address the major issues of body image, bullying, personal safety, mental health and peer pressure.