Positive T-Shirts

Podcast 024: Positive T-Shirts

Founder Positive T-Shirts

Neil Milton is the founder of Positive T-Shirts which is a social enterprise-giving all profits towards preventing youth suicide. Neil is a public speaker, motivator and novice social media junky. Neil also is the General Manager for another not-for-profit working to prevent harm and abuse of children. He has worked in some of the roughest schools in Adelaide as a youth worker and has also had a stint working for life line.

His motto in life is “one day at a time”

Neil enjoys hanging out with his wife and children, also exercising, when he gets out of bed!

Positive T-Shirts

The Positive T-Shirt brand birthed in 2016 out of a passion to create t-shirts and other apparel that literally change lives as you wear it and as others see it. That’s why profits of products sold go towards preventing youth suicide.

All profits raised are donated to in2life which helps fund the training of volunteers who support young people, through their facebook group ‘coming together to prevent youth suicide‘. Donations also support school programs enabling young people with the skills needed to help their friends, who may be struggling.

In todays episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast Aaron speaks with Neil about his journey to founding Positive T-Shirts. We discuss why Neil decided to support the cause of suicide prevention and how you can get a great bit of merchandise to aid the cause.


Today’s resources

Here are links that have bearing on todays podcast.

Contact Neil and the Positive T-Shirt team

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

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  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help the podcast and I read each one.
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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Non-Suicidal Self Injury (Part 2)

Podcast 021: Non-Suicidal Self Injury (Part Two)

Non-Suicidal Self Injury (Part 2)

To Support the Podcast, you can donate here.

Non-Suicidal Self Injury (Part 2)

Podcast 021 Dr. Claire Kelly
Dr Claire Kelly

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast ‘Non-Suicidal Self Injury Part Two’ Aaron continues to speaks with Dr. Claire Kelly about how we as youth workers can support young people experiencing Non-Suicidal Self Injury.

Dr Claire Kelly is the Director of Curriculum at MHFA Australia and an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University. Claire has been involved with MHFA since 2003, when she first became an instructor while completing her Doctorate at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, where the program was first developed.

Prior to her current position, Claire was the Youth MHFA Programs Manager for 10 years and also worked on the MHFA Guidelines used to develop Edition 2 of MHFA and YMHFA. Claire’s PhD thesis was written on the mental health literacy of Australian adolescents. Her main passion is the mental health of young people and minimising the impacts that mental health problems can have on development, educational outcomes and long-term functioning. Claire has suffered episodes of depression and anxiety since adolescence, which has been a driver for this work.

In todays episode (Part Two of Two) Aaron and Claire speak about the MHFA guidelines for non-Suicidal Self Injury developed by Mental health First Aid Australia after their ‘Delphi study’ into this area.

Professional youth workers understand that there are many young people who are hurting so bad that they self injure to deal with the turmoil. Unfortunately, not all professional youth workers know how to provide the support these young people need. Todays podcast begins to give us the tools to help the hurt and keep our young people safe.

You can find more information about Claire on LinkedIn.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles that have bearing on todays podcast.

Thanks for Listening!

To support the podcast, you can donate here.

To share your thoughts:

  • Share this cast with a friend or colleague.
  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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What is NSSI?

I have a story for you to set the scene.

I was working in a residential home on a night shift, there was myself and one other staff in the home with four young people aged between 5 and 16. One of the young people, a female aged 12, had just returned home after being missing for about a week. This particular young person has a history of methamphetamine misuse, depression, sexual exploitation and intentionally harming themselves. Immediately we were on high alert to her state of mind and presentation, offering comfort and making sure she was in a good headspace. Unfortunately, the young person looked physically depleted and was showing signs of instability.

After a brief conversation with the staff she went to the shower and asked to be left alone, something which in normal circumstances would have been a reasonable request. However, I was uncomfortable with how our initial conversations had unfolded and was on high alert. I consulted with the other staff member (who was female) and expressed my concerns. The other staff member did not share the same sense of urgency with regards to my concerns. I took it upon myself to go to the bathroom door and ask how the young person was doing. She did not respond so I told her I was concerned about her and that she should come out and talk some more, by this point the other staff member had arrived to help. A minute or two later, after being told to “fuck off” several times, the door swung open and the young person pushed past us revealing both herself and the bathroom covered in blood.  This was my first brush with NSSI.

What is NSSI?

I can almost guarantee you that at some point in your career you have heard someone talk about “self harm”. If you are like myself or a lot of other youth workers, you would have even had to manage a situation where a young person has intentionally harmed themselves. This is otherwise known as “non-suicidal self injury”.

Non-suicidal self injury (NSSI) refers to the direct, deliberate destruction of ones own body tissue in the absence of intent to die.

Whilst the person may not have the intention of killing themselves, the issue should still be approached seriously and an appropriate care plan should be put in place to support them and minimise further harm. But before we tackle the topic of how to support someone who is self injuring, let’s begin with some of the methods used to self injure.

One of the most common methods for NSSI is the use of objects to cut the skin, such as; razor blades, glass, knives and almost any sharp object that can be found to cause harm. Other common methods people use are scratching, deliberately hitting body parts on hard surfaces and punching, hitting or slapping themselves. Less common methods include biting and burning.

Here are a few facts about NSSI from Mental Health First-Aid Australia.

So why do people engage in NSSI?

There are a myriad of reasons but from my own personal experience working with young people the most common reason they tell me is that it’s the only thing they feel they have control over. As I mostly work with young people in out-of-home care, this makes a lot of sense. Other reasons include;

  • Attempting to manage painful feelings
  • They feel the need to punish themselves
  • To communicate with others
How do I help someone engaging in NSSI?

Firstly you have to assess if someone may be harming themselves. This might include noticing blood on their clothing, they might be wearing long clothing in warm weather or they may be using medical supplies faster than usual. If you suspect there is an issue then ask them directly, also ask about suicidal thoughts but be sure to not express any disgust or threaten punishment as this can cause further damage. 

Next you want to assist them in whatever way you can can. If you have immediate concerns for their safety then you might need to offer first aid or even call an ambulance. If the concerns don’t require medical attention, we can continue to offer support in other ways. 

In the Youth Mental Health First Aid course you will learn the following acronym that will help you support someone who is engaging in NSSI. The acronym is ALGEE.

Using these steps as a guide, it is important to choose the right time and place to approach a young person about your concerns. When listening, be conscious of your body language and tone and try to be non-judgmental. Arm yourself with knowledge about appropriate support networks that they can tap in to to help minimise future risk. This could include family or even the kids helpline. When encouraging professional support, consider how you can help to facilitate this and what else you could do if they refused. If they do refuse professional help you could encourage self-help methods such as meditation.

Where can I learn more?

If you wish to further your understanding of NSSI we would highly recommend attending a Youth Mental Health First Aid course with Ultimate Youth Worker. In this course we cover the content above a lot deeper plus a range of other mental health issues experienced by young people. I took this course myself last year and it has given me invaluable knowledge and resources to take with me on my youth work journey.

Thank you for taking the time to read about NSSI, please post any questions or comments you may have below or on our social media platforms.

Further Resources

Non-Suicidal Self Injury with Dr. Claire Kelly (Part 1)

Non-Suicidal Self Injury with Dr. Claire Kelly (Part 2)

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work. Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

More Posts

Non-Suicidal Self Injury

Podcast 020: Non-Suicidal Self Injury (Part One)

Non-Suicidal Self Injury
To Support the Podcast, you can donate here.

Non-Suicidal Self Injury

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast ‘Non-Suicidal Self Injury Part One’ Aaron speaks with Dr. Claire Kelly about her work at Mental Health First Aid Australia and in particular her work in the space of Non-Suicidal Self Injury.

Dr Claire Kelly is the Director of Curriculum at MHFA Australia and an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University. Claire has been involved with MHFA since 2003, when she first became an instructor while completing her Doctorate at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, where the program was first developed. Prior to her current position, Claire was the Youth MHFA Programs Manager for 10 years and also worked on the MHFA Guidelines used to develop Edition 2 of MHFA and YMHFA. Claire’s PhD thesis was written on the mental health literacy of Australian adolescents. Her main passion is the mental health of young people and minimising the impacts that mental health problems can have on development, educational outcomes and long-term functioning. Claire has suffered episodes of depression and anxiety since adolescence, which has been a driver for this work.

In todays episode (Part One of Two) Aaron and Claire speak about Non-Suicidal Self Injury and the MHFA guidelines for non-Suicidal Self Injury developed by Mental health First Aid Australia after their ‘Delphi study’ into this area.

Professional youth workers understand that there are many young people who are hurting so bad that they self injure to deal with the turmoil. Unfortunately, not all professional youth workers know how to provide the support these young people need. Todays podcast begins to give us the tools to help the hurt and keep our young people safe.

You can find more information about Claire on LinkedIn.

Today’s resources

Here are links to some articles that have bearing on todays podcast.

Thanks for Listening!

To support the podcast, you can donate here.

To share your thoughts:

  • Share this cast with a friend or colleague.
  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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What are eating disorders?

Eating Disorders

Adolescence can be a difficult time for young people. It is a period of intense change both physically and emotionally, partnered with stress, confusion and anxiety. Young people are extremely vulnerable during this time and can be susceptible to experiencing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use problems and eating disorders.

Have you ever eaten greasy fast food and regretted it after?

Have you ever felt like you’ve over eaten and felt sick after?

Have you ever gone over the day in your mind and thought about everything you’ve eaten?

These are normal thoughts that all of us experience. But imagine thinking it over and over, all day long, obsessing over every calorie, and feeling constant guilt and regret. This is what someone with an eating disorder may experience, each and every day, sometimes for many years.

Young people are particularly at risk of experiencing an eating disorder. Unfortunately, social media plays a huge part in this. When we were teenagers, the most exposure we had to celebrities and models was in a teen magazine that we bought from the newsagent, or on the occasional movie or television show. But these days, young people are exposed to images every day, literally at the tips of their fingers. Instagram, Facebook and the internet show constant photos and videos of people you know or don’t know, which unfortunately causes feelings of insecurity and inadequateness in young people in terms of how they think they should look.

What is an eating disorder?

“An eating disorder is a serious mental illness, characterised by eating, exercise and body weight or shape becoming an unhealthy preoccupation of someone’s life. It’s estimated that one million Australians have an eating disorder, and this number is increasing. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice, a diet gone wrong or a cry for attention. Eating disorders can take many different forms and interfere with a person’s day to day life.”

There are many different types of eating disorders and these have been categorised in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), edition 5, which was published in 2013. The most common types are:

  • Anorexia Nervosa; significant weight loss due to the persistent restriction of food/energy intake, intense fear of gaining weight and disturbance in self-perceived weight or shape. People with anorexia often refuse to maintain weight at or above a normal weight for their height/body shape/age/activity level.
  • Bulimia Nervosa; characterised by a distorted body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by fasting, self-induced vomiting, purging, excessive exercise or use of laxatives/diet pills.
  • Binge Eating Disorder; regular episodes of binge eating accompanied by feelings of loss of control, and in many cases; guilt, embarrassment and disgust. Unlike those with bulimia nervosa, a person with binge eating disorder will not use compensatory behaviours, such as self-induced vomiting or over-exercising after binge eating. Many people with binge eating disorder are overweight or obese.
  • Others include: Pica, Rumination Disorder, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) and Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED).

You can read more about each of the different eating disorders here.

Why are young people more at risk of experiencing an eating disorder?

Whilst eating disorders can affect people of all ages, socio-economic groups and genders, adolescence is the most common stage of onset of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and disordered eating. Although eating disorders can be caused due to a number of factors (personal, environmental, psychological, biological and social), it appears that youth are the most at-risk group of developing an eating disorder, and this can be due to many factors.

As mentioned at the start of this blog post, adolescence can be a tough time for young people. So many changes, both physically and socially, in addition to hormone and brain changes that in turn can affect a young person both emotionally and psychologically. The physical changes within adolescence can cause a young person to feel self-conscious, experience low self-esteem and compare themselves to peers (as well as others that they see through social media). In addition to starting high school, making new friends and trying to “fit in”, young people may also start to feel attraction to others of the opposite or same sex. All of these changes, in addition to their body literally changing shape, as well as other physical changes, place young people at higher risk of developing an eating disorder. Furthermore, eating disorders can be a coping mechanism of young people to try and control something in their life, as they may feel helpless in other aspects of their lives where there has been dramatic change. Who do you work with that has experienced dramatic change recently or even consistently? It’s commonplace with the young people we work with.

Click here for further statistical information about eating disorders.

Are there other risk factors for eating disorders?

There is no single cause of an eating disorder, but other risk factors for eating disorders include low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, depression or anxiety, pressure from family for perfectionism or high achievement, difficulty expressing emotions, ineffective coping strategies, impulsive or obsessive behaviours, conflict in the home or another life crisis, peer pressure, media representations, critical comments about one’s appearance, bullying, physical or sexual abuse, predisposition to an imbalance in serotonin, dieting, history of family obesity and so on.

What are the physical signs of an eating disorder?

The physical signs of an eating disorder might include fluctuation in weight or significant weight loss, loss of menstrual periods (women), fatigue, dizziness, changes in skin/hair/nails, sensitivity to the cold, swelling around the cheeks or jaw, damage to teeth, bowel problems (e.g. constipation) and dehydration.

What are the psychological signs of an eating disorder?

The psychological signs of an eating disorder can include preoccupation with body weight and/or appearance, increased mood changes, irritability, reduced concentration, memory loss, anxiety around meal times, sensitivity to criticism, negative and distorted body image, guilt, self-loathing, obsessive behaviours, rigid thinking (e.g. labelling foods as “good” or “bad”), difficulty with relationships, suicidal thoughts or behaviour and drug and alcohol misuse.

What are the behavioural signs of an eating disorder?

The behavioural signs of an eating disorder may include dieting or overeating, obsessive rituals (e.g. only eating certain foods on certain days), making frequent excuses not to eat, not eating around others, hoarding food, trips to the bathroom after meals and so on.

Can you think of a young person you’ve worked with that displayed psychological, physical or behavioural signs of an eating disorder? What symptoms did they display, and were you able to intervene/assist them?

Importance of early intervention.

It is extremely important that early intervention is achieved in adolescents where an eating disorder is present. This is because during adolescence, not only does a young person’s physical body change, grow and develop, but so does their brain. If this growth and development is interrupted and left untreated, it can cause severe physical damage (chronic illness), further mental health issues and even death.

It’s important to promote eating disorder and body image dissatisfaction prevention programs in schools and within local communities. For instance:

  • Encouraging physical activity in a healthy way, team sports, as well as how to cook nutritious meals are important elements that can be introduced to schools and support services where group work is provided.
  • Anti-bullying programs can be effective in targeting behaviours that can cause eating disorders to develop amongst adolescents in school.
  • Gender equity programs that challenge stereotypes of how young people think they should “look”, as well as dissecting social media and brand representations of men and women.

Eating Disorders

How do we treat eating disorders?

A multi-disciplinary approach to treatment of eating disorders is ideal as there are both physical and psychological aspects that need to be addressed to target the underlying causes and promote long term recovery. There are many different treatment options and settings for eating disorders and these can depend on the type of eating disorder as well as the perceived severity of the problem. Some treatment options include:

  • Physical health management / hospitalisation
  • Mental health management
  • Nutritional counselling and advice
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family based therapy
  • Anti-depressants
  • Support groups and so on.

For more information on treatment options, visit Eating Disorders Victoria.

Further resources:

https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/sites/default/files/public/EatingDisorderResourceSchools.pdf

https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/assets/Uploads/A5-Ed-brox-online.pdf

https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/our-services/education/

https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/about-us/information-and-resources/

https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/eating-disorders/what-is-an-eating-disorder/classifying-eating-disorders/dsm-5

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work.

Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

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Mental Health Resources

Youth Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources

There are so many youth mental health resources…

Where do you start when you need youth mental health resources?

We get asked all the time where the best resources are. Well finally we have created a resource just for youth workers. All the resources here have been check and tested by our team. These youth mental health resources are recommended by leading practitioners and organisations who work with young people from all over the world. We will continue to update this post so come back again and again to get more resources. All the links to the books take you directly to amazon so you can pick up a copy for yourself.


General resources

Carr-Gregg, M. (2010) When to Worry & What to Do about It. Camberwell, VIC, Australia. Penguin Books

Carr-Gregg, M. (2005) Surviving Adolescents: A Must Have Manual For All Parents. Camberwell, VIC, Australia. Penguin Books

Websites

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.headspace.org.au

www.youthinmind.info

www.reachout.com.au

www.parentingstrategies.net

www.nimh.nih.gov


Depression ResourcesDepression resources

Parker, G and Eyers, K (2009) Navigating Teenage Depression: A Guide for Parents and Professionals. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia. Allen and Unwin

Johnstone, M and Johnstone, A (2008) Living with a Black Dog: His Name Is Depression. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Pan Macmillan Australia

Purcell, R; Ryan, S; Scanlan, F; Morgan, A; Callahan, P, Allen, N and Jorm, A (2013) What works for depression in young people 2nd Ed. Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Beyondblue

Johnstone, M (2005) I Had a Black Dog.Sydney, NSW, Australia. Pan Macmillan Australia

Evans, DL and Andrews, LW (2005) If Your Adolescent Has Depression or Bipolar Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Websites

www.youthbeyondblue.com


Anxiety ResourcesAnxiety resources

Foa, EB and Andrews, LW (2006) If Your Adolescent Has an Anxiety Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Schlab, LM (2004) The Anxiety Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Deal with Anxiety and Worry. Oakland, CA, USA. New Harbinger Publications

Phillips, N (2005) The panic book. Concord West, NSW, Australia. Shrink-Rap Press

Wever, C and Phillips, N (2006) The secret problem. Concord West, NSW, Australia. Shrink-Rap Press

Websites

moodgym.anu.edu.au

www.whatworks4u.org

www.brave-online.com


Eating Disorder ResourcesEating Disorders resources

Walsh, BT and Cameron, VL (2005) If Your Adolescent Has an Eating Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Costin, C; Schubert and Grabb, G (2011) 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health). New York, NY, USA. WW Norton and Company

Schmidt, U; Treasure, J and  Alexander, J (2015) Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders. Abingdon, UK. Taylor and Francis.

Cooper, PJ (2006) Overcoming Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating by Prof Peter Cooper (29-Oct-2009) Paperback. London, UK. Robinson Publishing.

Websites

www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

www.eatingdisorders.org.au

www.howfaristoofar.org.au

www.feedyourinstinct.com.au

www.b-eat.co.uk


Psychosis Resources

Psychosis resources

Crompton, MT and Broussard, B (2009) The First Episode of Psychosis: A Guide for Patients and Their Families. London, England. Oxford University Press

Gur, RE and Johnson, AB (2006) If Your Adolescent Has Schizophrenia: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Eyers, K and Parker, G Eds. (2008) Mastering Bipolar Disorder: An Insider’s Guide to Managing Mood Swings and Finding Balance. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Allen and Unwin


Drug and Alcohol ResourcesDrug and Alcohol resources

Dillon, P (2009) Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs: What Your Kids Really Want and Need to Know about Alcohol and Drugs. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Allen and Unwin

Websites

www.checkyourdrinking.net

www.theothertalk.org.au

www.yodda.org.au

www.adf.org.au

www.adin.com.au

www.reduceyouruse.org.au


Suicide Resources

Suicide resources

Websites

Apps

BeyondNow Convenient and confidential, the BeyondNow app puts your safety plan in your pocket so you can access and edit it at any time. You can also email a copy to trusted friends, family or your health professional so they can support you when you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or heading towards a suicidal crisis.

BeyondNow is free to download from the Apple Store or Google Play. If you don’t have a smartphone or would prefer to use your desktop or laptop, BeyondNow is also available to use online.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Youth mental health

Youth workers as mental health gatekeepers

We’ve been asked a fair bit over the last month what our stance is on mental health. There seems to be two camps growing up in the youth sector. Those who see us as generalist youth workers who do not need to know about mental health except that we should refer on to more qualified help and those who believe that as one of the biggest issues facing our young people is something we should know about…mental health. One camp is ignoring issues for the sake of the profession, the other is seeking to adapt with the times.

It will come as no surprise to our long term readers that we sit in the later camp. We believe that youth workers provide a first responder service to young people experiencing mental health issues in the same way that paramedics provide physical health services. We often provide gatekeeper services to mental health support through triaging the case and providing support until a mental health professional can take them on. We do this now, and with little or no specific mental health training. We believe that by our inaction in dealing with our young peoples mental health we are, by default, causing harm to them.

We are not advocating that all youth workers become mental health clinicians. We are saying that we need more than a mental health first aid certificate. A two day course is not enough. We need to faithfully support our young people in all their trails and tribulations. We need to come to grips with the fact that our training programs written decades ago have lost their relevance and we need to update our frameworks. It is up to the academics to change the course structures. It is up to the sector to demand this. It is every youth workers responsibility to become better than they are right now. Mental health is only one area we need to become more proficient in.

Youth mental health

Youth worker mental health gatekeepers

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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What are we up to: Youth mental health

We have met with a number of our supporters lately and one question keeps coming up…What are we up to at the moment? We have been at the forefront of discussions in the youth sector for the last three years and to be honest the cuts to the sector have taken their toll on us. This year did not start with the bang we had hoped for.

But like the phoenix we are rising from the ashes! over the last couple of months we have focussed in on what you have been telling us over the last few years. We keep hearing that youth workers all over Australia are feeling out of their depth when supporting their clients with mental health issues. This is often due to a lack of training. The historical focus has has also been against us with psychologists and social workers being the key players in this space.

Over the next few months we will be taking the knowledge we have gained and we will give it back to you! We will be focusing on what we need to know to face the young peoples challenge of the 21st century… youth mental health.

Let us know what we can do to help you and your organisations meet the challenge of youth mental health. We will be running some training by the years end specifically for youth workers… and more than just mental health first aid.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Knowing mental health: Eating disorders

The final week of our mental health month brings us to eating disorders. As youth workers we have seen a marked increase in eating disorders over the past ten years with body image being consistently rated by young people in their top few issues. Approximately 15% of Australian women experience an eating disorder during their lifetime however it is not just an issue for females either. Many young males also deal daily with eating disorders. The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses, and over twelve times higher than that for people without eating disorders. Approximately one in twenty Australians has an eating disorder with the rate increasing in the Australian population.

There is a high level of co-morbidity of mental illnesses with eating disorders. Eating disorders are most commonly accompanied by depression and anxiety disorders; however, substance abuse and personality disorders are also highly prevalent in people with eating disorders. In fact, research suggests that approximately 60% of people with an eating disorder will also meet diagnosis for one of these other psychological disorders (Beyondblue, 2014).

Knowing mental health

Knowing eating disorders

According to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (fifth edition), “eating disorders are characterised by a persistent disturbance of eating or eating-related behaviour that results in the altered consumption or absorption of food and that significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning“. The following diagnoses come under feeding and eating disorders:

  • Pica
  • Rumination disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa; and
  • Binge eating

Each of these diagnoses, save for Pica, can only be assigned individually to a person in a single clinical episode. Meaning you cannot have a diagnosis of Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa in the same presentation. This is due to their substantially different clinical course, outcome options, and treatment needs. The diagnostic criteria for these disorders is relatively straight forward however the disorders themselves are quite misunderstood. As youth workers we must have a solid understanding of these disorders so we can break the stigma and provide the most appropriate treatment options and support to our clients.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Knowing mental health: Depression

Knowing mental health: Depression

Depression can be kicked

Depression

We continue mental health month at Ultimate youth Worker with the most spoken about of brain disorders, Depression. Depression goes by many different names and it stalks people with the skill of a bloodhound. It chases you down in everyday situations and squashes your ability to reach your goals. The most disturbing quality of all is it slowly stops them of life. When we speak of depression as a disorder of the brain we are speaking of the everyday crippling sense that the world is going to squash us that some of us feel that stop us from living our life to the full.

The common feature of all depressive disorders is the presence of sad, empty, or irritable mood, accompanied by somatic (physical) and cognitive (mental) changes that significantly affect the individuals capacity to function. The black dog and its friends spend most of their time making our mood low which in turn makes us physically and mentally feel like we are walking in mud. Our ability to deal with the day to day stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make a contribution to our community becomes limited and if it persists can become a chronic condition.

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The major differences among the depressive disorders are issues of duration (how long the symptoms last for), timing (whats happening for you at the time), or presumed aetiology (the causes, or manner of causation of a condition). Symptoms of depressive disorders can last from two weeks to a number of years. The onset of the symptoms can be a certain time of the month through to a significant bereavement and anything in between.

Major Depressive Disorder

…represents the classic condition known to most of us in this group of disorders. It is characterised by discrete episodes of at least two weeks duration (although most episodes last considerably longer) involving clear cut changes in affect, cognition, and neurovegetative functions and inter-episode remissions. While these brain disorders can be diagnosed as one off episodes they are more often recurrent in a majority of cases.

As youth workers we will work with many young people with depressive disorders. We must have a strong understanding of the diagnostic criteria, treatment options and recovery planning for young people living with depression. We can then support them to make informed decisions about the treatment planning and recovery orientation. We owe it to them to be well informed.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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