Dear Australian Politicians,
I’m writing to you again out of desperation for you to listen to me. Just a moment of your time to express the deep concern that I have about the mental health of our youth. ALL youth. Across all populations. It seems from my investigation that none of our youth are safe from mental illness.
By ignoring it, we reinforce the stigma. We deny our youth a voice and hold them in contempt for expressing their disquietude. We dismiss their moodiness as all apart of growing up and never take the risk of asking if they are okay, mainly because we are afraid of the answer. We have teenagers in adult prisions, unaccompanied minors in refugee camps, we have kids cutting into themselves to be able to feel emotions, we have teenagers confused over their sexuality when homophobia is rife, we have young angry men who want to be heard, and epidemic amount of homeless kids. What do we say to them? Nothing. What help do we give them? None. Instead we cut services and underpay the very people who can help them. We over stress and under pay them.
- Social Workers,
- Child-Protection Officers,
- DHS Psychologists and Psychiatrists,
- Adolescent Psych-Nurses,
- Community Welfare Workers,
- CAT Teams,
- MAP Teams.
ALL are under-funded and in some cases under educated for the demands of working with Teenagers with mental health issues. I hear from kids that their school’s welfare co-ordinator’s are teachers rather than social workers. Teachers in general, have very little psychological knowledge beyond developmental psychology and this means they could miss key signs of mental disturbance and if they are in the role of welfare co-ordinator it leaves them and the teenager vulnerable.
Look what we are saying to our youth. We call them lazy and unappreciative. We mock their angst. And by doing this we alienate them and sometimes, it has a really bad outcome. Who is to blame for Gen Y’s attitude? Why, that would be us. The adults. As leaders, you should all hang your heads in collective shame. Your political discourse doesn’t exactly give much hope. We send Gen Y conflicting messages and we wonder why they rebel. Have you forgotten how crap it was to be a teenager? Clearly you have.
I believe that I could pretty much start to correct what is going on with our youth. It wouldn’t hurt your precious surplus and no one rich would have to make any sacrifices. We would however have a much happier, productive society, which would make a nice change from the riots, incidence of self-harm (in homes, refugee camps, prisions, and schools) and general ugliness that descends from Canberra during question time. I’m an adult and I find it mystifying and it leaves me a little perturbed.
If you want real outcomes for the people of Australia, whom are your employers (some of us haven’t forgotten that you know), it would be a good start to listen to those who are working in the system and who access the services. No more “group thinks”, just honest policies that will serve some of the most vulnerable people in Australia. Our children.