Editorial

Youth and Mental Health.

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Mental health issues are at an all time high. 

According to a survey conducted by Head space in June 2020, one in three (34%) of adolescents between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, indicated they were experiencing high levels of anxiety and psychological issues.

Covid has had a large impact on mental health across the board. Across the global, there has been a 25% increase in psychological concerns particularly anxiety and depression in young individuals.

Youth suicide figures have sky rocketed over the past few years. 

In 2020, 99 people between the ages of 5 years and 17 years old took their own lives.

The vast majority of these cases were in the 15 – 17-year-old age bracket.

Of all causes of death, 31% of them in the 15 year -17-year-old age range was suicide and 39% of deaths of individuals in the age range of 18 – 24 years were self-inflicted.

These are sad and concerning statistics.

May youths report bullying and exclusion as being major issues, as well as family, community and personal issues compounding on their state of emotional wellbeing.

Our youth are our future, and with these figures in hand, you may be considering completing studies to assist youths to develop stronger coping skills.

If you have patience, empathy, good listening and negotiation skills and want to make a difference, then working with youth might be a path worth considering.

A lot of people working in the area of Youth Work and Community Services may have had their own life experiences with trauma and mental health issues and have recovered and now feel the need to use their knowledge and experience to help others in the same position.

Here is a breakdown of some of the roles you may be able to work within after completing a Certificate of IV in Youth Work.

5 Roles you may want to consider after completing your Cert IV in Youth Work

  • Community Development Worker (Youth)

In this role, you assist families, individuals and in some instances small communities to improve their skills and quality of life through social change.

You act as a bridge between them and other parties such as police, teachers and other professionals. 

Your skills can help build stronger and more positive relationships within the community, ensuring members feel supported and heard.

  • Youth Case Worker

Some of the duties you’ll most likely be undertaking in this role, include planning and implementing programs for young people and liaising with them as to what they need and prefer and working to accomplish goals with this information.

Personally designed programs for youths can help them integrate into the community and accomplish a sense of belonging, without losing their sense of individuality. 

This takes their own personality, goals and needs into consideration rather than a generic and automatic strategy.

  • Youth Worker

Provide specialised intervention and case management to help with your clients social, educational needs and mental health.

Work with youth at risk to help develop more appropriate and stronger coping skills and interpersonal skills.

  • Residential Care Worker

This role is hands on with providing more personal care for youth and may include assistance with hygiene, bathing and feeding.

You may also assist them with learning and using daily living skills such as budgeting, shopping, accessing community support and education

Another aspect of your time with them may involve engaging with them in social activities within their home setting and community.

  1. Indigenous Youth Worker

This role involves working with Indigenous youth and their families to forge positive relationships with local community groups and relevant government figures. 

A large part of your networking would be working with Indigenous Youth to help them keep their sense of spirituality and culture whilst assisting them to find their place in society and the local and wider community.

Places you might end up working.

There are a wide range of choices and opportunities for those wishing to work in the Community Health Sector as a Youth Worker.

Where ever youth are located, there is generally a need for qualified people to assist them with their needs.

Schools, Refuges, Community Settings, Youth Detention, Rehabilitation Services and even in private homes through community intervention and management programs are just an example of the areas where employment may be possible.

Who do you work with as a Youth Worker?

As a Youth Worker you work within a team and multi disciplinarian network.

Often you may work with Police and local legal authorities or prison officers if your client is an offender, or is in the process of integrating into the community or at risk of re-offending.

Teachers and other support people such as Occupational Therapists may be part of your team in a school or education setting, especially if there is a diagnosis of a nuero-diverse nature such as Autism/ASD.

In some instances, you may find yourself working alongside Social Workers, Psychologists and Refuge workers if the child or family is a new arrival to Australia.

If there substance issues and their use are an issue or concern, either by the youth themselves or those around them, Social Workers and Rehabilitation Services may be involved as well.

Youth Workers and simular roles are often needed in the local community. You may play a mentoring role with the individual within their home to assist them in developing social skills and involvement in the community. 

All these roles are equally valuable and can potentially have a positive and uplifting impact on youth, their families and the community. 

What personal skills do I need for Youth Work.

It goes without saying that patience and understanding will assist you greatly in these roles.

A strong sense of compassion and the ability not to take things personally will also help.

The ability to conduct research and compile reports will help too.

As with all health care roles, maintaining confidentiality is crucial to.

And naturally, a warm personality and the desire to make a difference.

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