It was a busy week in the North West with a lot going on – which is exactly the way I like it – but one event I attended stood out for its ingenuity and its ability to transform the way people talk about, and do, certain things.
The event was the launch of the Youth Sexual Health Project featuring six short films starring young and mostly Indigenous people in Mount Isa.
The films covered sexual health and safer sexual practices including sexually transmitted infection, contraception and the importance of getting good health advice.
The films were the brainchild of youth organisation Young People Ahead but the scripts were put together by the actors themselves and you can tell because there wasn’t a moment of falseness in any of the films.
They rang so true that I found it hard at times to follow the idiom and slang of the speakers.
But that’s not a problem – the films were not aimed at old fogies like me but people between 15 and 25.
Those people will instantly understand and connect with the messages, delivered without pretention and often with great humour.
They will likely know the actors involved and will definitely recognise the Mount Isa locations which give the messages a sense of place and authenticity.
Lisa Davies Jones, the Chief Executive of North West Hospital and Health Service, said it was a smart move to have the project driven by the city’s young people.
“Research has shown that sexual health interventions benefit from community involvement by the target group,” she told the launch. “We know that it’s important to change attitudes and behaviours that contribute to the increased rates of STIs in young Indigenous people living in Mount Isa, and the young people involved in this project are doing just that, by being prepared to take the lead and bring these topics out into the open.
The project was fully funded by Queensland Health and is a collaborative venture between the NWHHS’s Mount Isa Sexual Health services, YPA and Headspace.
Watch out for the clips on our website and on Southern Cross television.