From tomorrow Queensland celebrates its first Youth Week. Themed ‘Jump In. Make a splash’, it celebrates the contributions made by young people to society and Central Highlands is proud to have youth embodying this spirit.
A young Blackwater man has proven that one person’s desire to make a difference can achieve great things when Central Highlands’ youth pledged to take a stand for mental health at the first Stand United Mental Health Awareness Day Out.
More than 400 people attended the event on 24 March to eat, meet, mingle and learn about mental health in a safe and relaxed environment. The event was hosted by Central Highlands Regional Council in joint sponsorship with Wesfarmers Curragh Mine.
Council’s Youth Development Officer Joshua Clutterbuck said the event was a success with friendly banter around a serious message.
‘Emergency services, local schools, support services and bands donated their time, not only for a great day, but for a great cause and our young people,’ he said.
‘The Emergency Services Cook Off saw our police, fire and ambulance services, hospital and SES crews in fierce competition; people’s choice awarded the hospital and the judges crowned the police as the winner.
‘It really was a fantastic day and the feedback we’ve received from people and services is that the Stand United Mental Health Awareness Day Out shall become an annual event for Blackwater.’
The idea for the event came from 18-year old Blackwater resident Zak Pizzini. Driven by his personal experience with mental health issues and suicide in the community, he wanted to raise awareness. In January, he approached Mr Clutterbuck with the idea to hold an event.
‘I’d seen Joshua around doing activities and I thought he could give me a hand,’ Mr Pizzini said.
‘The amount of support that everyone showed was great and the event was a lot better than I expected.’
He said young people should ‘follow their idea, get involved and watch it grow’.
Mr Clutterbuck said Zak’s passion and pro-active attitude sets an example for young people.
‘Zak is the first young person to approach me to run something like this,’ he said.
‘He just made an appointment, which is something that’s open to all young people in the region.
‘We strongly encourage anyone with ideas to approach council, talk to us directly or join a local Community Reference Group.
‘There are great avenues for young people to get involved and be a part of the process and Zak has been able to utilise these resources given to him.’
For more information on how to join a Community Reference Group or get involved contact Central Highlands Regional Council on 1300 242 686.