Youth Action Council is moving mountains

Youth Action Council members Jamie, Titian, Lily, Harriet, Lauren and Owen discuss plans for Moving Mountains, a new mental health project they are rolling out across the Northern Grampians Shire.

Youth Action Council members Jamie, Titian, Lily, Harriet, Lauren and Owen discuss plans for Moving Mountains, a new mental health project they are rolling out across the Northern Grampians Shire.

A new project designed by a sub-committee of the Northern Grampians Shire Youth Action Council is shaping the view of mental health in local schools.

Moving Mountains targets primary school students in grades five and six, and secondary school students in years eight, 10 and 12 through a series of workshops developed and presented by YAC members.

Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin said council was pleased to see the YAC tackling such an important issue.

"These young people have identified mental health as an area of concern for their peers, both in our municipality and further afield. We have all confidence that this project will make a significant impact on the way young people and the broader community view mental health," he said.

"The unique thing about Moving Mountains is that the workshops have been developed by, and will be presented by, young people who are very much in touch with the issues currently affecting young people. We think that's a really powerful approach and we're looking forward to seeing the results."

Chair of the Moving Mountains committee, Harriet Madams, said the group was looking forward to rolling out the program after almost a year of planning.

"The group has been working hard on tailoring the content of the workshops and making sure they're fun and interactive," Ms Madams said.

"We are also taking part in a training program to equip ourselves with the skills and knowledge we need to deliver the information in the most engaging way possible.

"We've spoken to every school in the shire about the program and their responses have been fantastic. They're all telling us that mental health is a key issue for them at the moment and that something like Moving Mountains could go a long way to improving outcomes in that area."

Ms Madams said the project concept had originated from the 2013 ABC Heywire Summit.

"The Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal (FRRR) was offering $100,000 to bring the summit projects to life in regional communities. The YAC saw the mental health project and knew instantly that we wanted to take it on," she said.

"We applied through the grants program and received $10,000 to kick-start the project. We've also been really fortunate to be given the opportunity to meet up with the Heywire participants who originally came up with the project idea and we're getting ongoing support from council, FRRR and the ABC."

Workshops will be rolled out in schools from August 2014 and will be supported by subsidised mental health first aid training opportunities for the general public.

For more information, visit the Moving Mountains facebook page, www.facebook.com/YACmovingmountains

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