For those of you who haven’t heard, last month headspace Armadale along with the Canning Gosnells Collaborative Action Network, City of Gosnells, Canning, Belmont and Armadale delivered the King of the Hill skateboard and scooter comp series in the South East Metro Area. This event took place over five Saturday’s; four qualifying heats held at Gosnells, Willetton, Belmont and Roleystone skate park, with the final held on the 4th of March at Mills Skate Plaza.
The purpose of this event was to engage young males in conversations about headspace, to raise awareness of headspace Armadale, and of course, to have some fun with and acknowledge the skills of young people. This kind of engagement with local young people is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, 1 in 4 young people have experienced a mental health issue making it more likely in young people than any other age group. Furthermore, for every 4 young people experiencing a mental health issue, only 1 is likely to have reached out for help from a health service. Aiming this event at engaging young males in conversation is because males are less likely to seek help for mental health issues than females. This can be seen when looking at who currently visits headspace, with males only making up 38% of clientele. This gap is influenced by multiple factors, but many suggest it is due to the problematic societal pressure that tells men to supress their emotions and not seek help to appear ‘manly’, a stigma that needs to be broken.
While all those statistics seem rather daunting, thankfully, on a local level, the event can be considered a success! The headspace marquee was surrounded by young people hanging out, and everyone who attended the event, including the multitude of parents, was at one point or another engaged in a conversation about headspace. Young people were informed of the free services offered and encouraged to reach out and ask for help should they ever need it, or even just for a chat.
On another positive note, the support shown for the event and the organizations behind it was amazing. Kourtney of the headspace Armadale Youth Reference Group said what she noticed most was “the huge community support behind it. Not only from participants, but also people coming by and taking the time out of their weekend to support a good cause”. This is what I also noticed while listening to the feedback from the public. Many parents made comments about the impact of youths having access to local mental health services designed for them and how glad they were to know that help was available. Overall, the King of the Hill Skate and Scooter Series was an awesome and fun event for young people, and a success in getting the word out that headspace is here to help when you’re having a tough time, and to never be afraid to ask for help.