Youth Mental Health – Jupiter

RAWCS Project 12-2021-22

Summary:Our goal is to enable young people to strengthen mental health outcomes, improve wellbeing and to ultimately, save lives. The jupiter project provides an early intervention mental health counselling service to youth aged 12-21 years in the Port Stephens LGA. Typically, help is given for anxiety and depression. Between the start of the jupiter service in March 2019, over 200 youth have been helped over 1,000 individual sessions. The jupiter service is currently provided free at two locations by qualified staff paid for by Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth (COPSY) Inc. Without the help of compassionate people, COPSY can’t pay counsellors. Make a difference in a young person’s life today.
Challenge:We focus on youth because mental health issues are likely to be first experienced in these younger years. Early intervention provides skills for coping better now and averting problems in later life. There are over 10,000 youth in the Port Stephens LGA; a geographically disadvantaged Rural and Remote region covering 979 km2 of New South Wales. The free headspace services in Newcastle and Maitland are nearly 3 hours away by bus: direct public transport options don’t exist. COVID-19 resulted in demand for our mental health services increasing by 69% in the period June to September 2020 compared to the same period the previous year. COVID-19 was also a challenge for fund raising. Successful grant applications to replace fund raising events have kept us going.
Solution:This is why we established “jupiter a safe space to talk”. Just like the planet helped sailors, our jupiter spaces help young people between the ages of 12 and 21 find direction through their own personal darkness. We have two dedicated rooms in the Salamander Bay Library and Community complex which is almost next door to the two major local high schools on the Tomaree Peninsula. This was opened formally in March 2019. In June 2021, we opened rooms in Tanilba Bay on the Tilligerry Peninsula as a cooperative venture with the Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre. Now, we are looking at opening rooms in Raymond Terrace to complete our coverage of the target market in Port Stephens. We hope to secure enough funds to provide over 2,000 sessions in the year to June 2022.
Long term impact:The service is only just over two years’ old, so it is a little early to show long-term impacts. But various metrics are used to measure satisfaction and outcomes of counselling. Our expected long term impact is for Port Stephens youth to feel supported, empowered through self- awareness and awareness of their potential.
Sponsored by:Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity, District 9705
Other partners:Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth Rotary Club of Medowie-Williamtown, D9670

Manager: John de Ridder
(M) 0409 804 278

Deputy Manager: PP John Roberson
(M) 0407 940 014