As our thoughts turn to the excitement and fun of the festive season, Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA is reminding people to stay closely connected to loved ones, especially those who struggle with mental health.
While Christmas is an exciting time for many, it can also be a time of stress and hardship, with those experiencing mental health conditions especially vulnerable.
Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA was launched earlier this year to support research to identify trigger points for youth suicide and examine measures to predict people at high risk.
Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA Chairman Ronald W. Woss AM, whose daughter tragically took her own life in 1988, said there was a great urgency for research to help identify those at risk so that families, medical practitioners and the community could support young people before it was too late.
"Every month, every year that we don’t do something to address this issue we are losing more and more young lives," he said.
"We need to better understand what the stressors are throughout young people’s lives and get to them early, before they reach the critical point of risk."
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said youth suicide was a complex issue and Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA would seek to advance modelling and analytics as well as mental health research.
"Through this initiative and the appointment of world-leading experts in mental health and allied fields, we can provide insight and greater understanding of youth suicide to support to our young people," Professor Freshwater said.
Professor Sean Hood, who heads up the UWA Division of Psychiatry and is part of the leadership team of Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA said being attuned to the wellbeing of others was important this Christmas.
"For many people and families this is a particularly challenging time of year," he said.
"Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA is building upon cross-disciplinary research we recently completed in our hospital emergency departments to better predict the vulnerability and resilience of youth at risk, which will guide the distribution of expert support services."
For more information about Young Lives Matter Foundation-UWA visit www.uwa.edu.au/Projects/Young-Lives-Matter
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) 08 6488 6876