Forum spotlight on youth issues

THE first forum of its kind to discuss youth issues at a regional level in the North West started yesterday in Mount Isa.

The three-day North West Youth Sector Forum brings together youth and community workers, researchers, managers, directors, policy makers and members of the industry from all over the western and gulf regions.

The brainchild of Young People Ahead Manager Alvin Hava, the event is the first to focus on showcasing programs, events and other initiatives that supported youth and the community as well as sharing skills to benefit young people and ultimately solve youth issues at a regional level.

Mr Hava addressed the forum, saying he was an example of how kids could be helped and mentored to live a productive life.

“People took a damn about me when I was a kid, took me under their wing and mentored me,” he said.

The youth forum was a chance for organisations and individuals to address issues including youth homelessness, volatile substance misuse and juvenile crime.

“In Mount Isa there’s been a lot of collaborative work done with organisations but there has not been a coordinated approach across the whole region,” Mr Hava said.

“We hope this will be the first of many opportunities for people who work in the youth sector to take skills back to their communities and work together to solve issues that exist in the community with the help of the people they meet at the forum.”

Mr Hava said the event would be hosted biennially.

“This year’s theme is ‘Yarning-up in the Outback’ and it’s about making those connections and maintaining them,” he said.

“This won’t be just another talk-fest, this will hopefully allow workers to build capacity in their communities, and look at solutions while working together to address them.”

The Deadly Thinking Training team from the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health focused on social and emotional well-being relating to suicide prevention and intervention within a cultural and traidtional setting.

Today’s topic is alcohol and drug issues in the community, and tomorrow will focus on youth legal aid.

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