|During this year’s Mental Health Week the Y in Australia (formerly YMCA) will shine the light on the mental wellbeing of young LGBTQIA+ young people, through its annual award-winning Inside Our Minds campaign.
According to LGBTIQ+ Health Australia’s 2021 data, LGBTIQ+ young people on average experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher suicidal behaviours than their peers.
Created by the Y in West Australia, Inside Our Minds 2022, openly and honestly shares the struggles and learnings of seven courageous LGBTQIA+ young people between 16 – 30 who have experienced mental health issues because of their struggle with inclusivity. The intention is to show through short films that mental health affects everyone differently, however, the way we manage our mental health regardless of background, gender, race etc. is the same.
The Y’s aim is to encourage all young people to seek support for their mental health issues.
One of the participants, Zee, opens up about their struggles and how they think their community can be more accepted in sports, “I struggle with gender dysphoria. My body just doesn’t feel like mine yet. I worry a lot about how flat my chest is and how other people perceive me. I think my community can be more accepted in sport by understanding that we just want to play and get the positive impacts from sports like everyone else.”
The Y’s CEO in West Australia Dr Tim McDonald says, “The Y is a global leader recognised for inspiring young people for over 178 years through education, youth participation and health and wellness. This program truly gives young people a voice, giving them power in a world they will inherit.
“This year’s participants have shared their journeys in a transparent and brave outpouring of emotion, and they have the real potential to connect with others experiencing similar issues in a profound way. We are sincerely grateful this courageous group shared their experiences purely for the benefit of other young Australians.”
Inside Our Minds was started by a young person at the Y, Martin Johnson, a Y global change agent, who now works for Mineral Resources but remains an integral volunteer working on the project, with MinRes sponsoring the project for the next three years.
MinRes Psychologist and Head of Mental Health, Chris Harris, said mental health is a priority concern for young West Australians with 75 per cent of all mental health issues developing before the age of 25.
“What I’ve learned over my 30 years of experience across psychology and mental health services is that young people are not interested in re-stating what the problem is, but they are highly invested as participants about finding solutions to the problems confronting them. That’s what Inside our Minds is about. Hearing the voices of other young people to help inform solutions that will work for them.
View and share the Inside Our Minds campaign here: INSIDE OUR MINDS
If you are experiencing an emotional crisis and require urgent support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental health issues the Y suggests contacting Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
Di McDonald Y Australia M: 0412 858 556