Western Australian not-for-profit organisation Youth Focus has partnered with Sandfire Resources to help more young people access mental health care in the state’s Murchison region.
Sandfire will provide $150,000 over the next three years to strengthen Youth Focus’ psychological care offerings through its Murchison youth severe service. The miner’s contractors, Sodexo and DDH1 Drilling, have also committed $30,000 over the three years.
The program, which services the Murchison communities of Meekatharra, Mt Magner, Cue, Yulga Jinna and Buttah Windee, provides free counselling support for disengaged young people with severe anxiety, depression, early psychosis and other mental health illnesses.
The arrangement includes the recruitment of a part-time female Aboriginal youth engagement officer, in addition to two clinical psychologists who visit the region each week to provide free one-on-one counselling.
It will also include a full-time Aboriginal youth engagement officer based in Meekatharra.
Youth Focus chief executive officer Arthur Papakotsias said the partnership would enhance outreach services in the region and allow Youth Focus to build community understanding about mental health.
“Our tailored Murchison program uses the fundamentals of song, art and traditional Aboriginal culture to engage with young people and broach important discussions about mental health, this has proven very effective in connecting with at-risk youths,” he said.
“Research shows that suicide rates are five times higher in Aboriginal and Indigenous communities, for this reason, it is imperative that we have trained clinicians working with local communities to help arrest this trend.”
Sandfire chief executive officer Karl Simich said the company was excited to partner with Youth Focus and expand the initiative.
“Sandfire is very pleased to be involved with this initiative, which is consistent with the overall focus of our community contribution and partnership programs to support health and wellbeing in remote communities,” he said.
“We are particularly committed to sustainable partnerships that work to deliver enduring benefits that extend beyond the life of our operations in any particular region.”