Young Aboriginal leaders driving change in the Kimberley

A three-day Empowered Young Leaders forum was held in Broome last week aiming to change the story for young Aboriginal people in the region and increase their uptake of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing services.

The forum is part of the Empowered Young Leaders Project which was identified in response to the significant rates of Aboriginal youth suicide in the region, as part of the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial.

During the three-day forum, a series of guest speakers, workshops and skills development took place, with about 25 young people aged between 18 to 30 attending.

Member of the project’s working group, Jacob Smith, said he was hopeful that, as a result of this forum, more young people will feel empowered and comfortable to talk about their mental health and get help, if they need to.

“Just as importantly, they will be able to take away tools and techniques they can use for themselves and as youth leaders in their own communities,” Mr Smith said.

The Empowered Young Leaders project is a vital component of the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, according to its Working Group co-chair and Deputy CEO of Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS), Rob McPhee.

“It supports the work that came out of an earlier youth suicide prevention forum and is a practical way to implement the recommendations that were made at that time by young people for young people,” Mr McPhee said.