A new campaign that encourages young people to reach out and support their mates around issues of alcohol and other drugs and related wellbeing and mental health issues is being rolled out across Macarthur and Wingecarribee.

Youth drug and alcohol prevention and health promotion charity, Youth Solutions, joined forces with Campbelltown Catholic Club to launch the ‘It Starts With Us’ campaign last month.

Youth Solutions Chief Executive Officer Geraldine Dean said the campaign was based on peer-influence research that highlighted the importance of peer support among young people.

“The campaign aims to encourage young people to be there for one another and to assist those in their lives to access further professional support if they need it,” Ms Dean said.

“Research shows that support from peers can help people feel accepted, find new coping strategies, increase knowledge, improve social skills, improve self-efficacy, manage challenges better and improve their quality of life.”

The ‘It Starts With Us’ campaign encourages not just the young but people of all ages to START – whether it be starting with a self-check-in or self-care, starting a conversation with a friend you are worried about or starting a connection to help someone seek out further support for drugs, alcohol and related challenges.

“We all have the power to take small steps to challenge stigma and normalise help-seeking around alcohol, drugs and mental health with friends, family and within our workplaces and learning environments,” said Youth Solutions Community Relations & Communications Coordinator, Amanda Dillon.

Some practical strategies we all can adopt include:

  • Challenging stereotypes: avoid judging, labelling or discriminating those around you. Speak up when you hear people around you making stereotypical or inaccurate comments.
  • Mind your language: the words we use with ourselves and others can make a real impact.
  • Inform and educate yourself and those around you: Be open to learning opportunities and engage in respectful conversations to upskill others. Connect with the Youth Solutions team for more information about training offerings for current and future sector workers, educators and parents/carers.

Campbelltown Catholic Club Chief Executive Officer Michael Lavorato said the club was proud to support Youth Solutions and the It Starts With Us campaign.

“The Club and our staff are committed to supporting and keeping our patrons and our community safe, especially our young people. So, working with Youth Solutions on this important campaign is something we were passionate about doing – looking after ourselves and supporting others should be a priority for us all,” Mr Lavorato said.

Connect with the ‘It Starts With Us’ campaign on social media:

Graeme Derrig, Campbelltown Catholic Club Chief Marketing Officer, accepts copies of the campaign materials and partner certificate of appreciation from Youth Solutions Chief Executive Officer Geraldine Dean