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Integrated health services model for North-West Tasmania


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Youth, Family and Community Connections Inc. (YFCC) have partnered with key stakeholders in the region to develop a ‘one stop shop’ – a youth-friendly location where young people and their families can easily access the information, support and services they need to reach their full potential. This facility is known as the junction HUB.

The junction HUB is a new service which uses a collective integrated service delivery approach to address the social determinants of health (SDoH) impacting young people (12–24 years) and their families in the Mersey region. This project has been funded by the Australian Government through Tasmania Medicare Local (TML).

The key objectives of the junction HUB project are to:

  1. develop a collective impact partnership model;
  2. develop an integrated model of practice; and
  3. improve community and client outcomes for young people and their families accessing the junction HUB.

Partners for the junction HUB project include: Cornerstone Youth Services/headspace Northern Tasmania; Devonport City Council; Don College; Don Medical Clinic; Eastern Shore Community House; Kentish Council and WISE Employment.

For further information contact Damian Collins, the junction HUB Project Coordinator at: [email protected] or ph: (03) 6424 7353.

Source: email from YFCC Devonport, 8 May 2023.

A closer look at young people’s finances


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A report just released by accountancy firm BDO and The Co-op examines in detail the finances of young people aged 18 to 29, and paints a picture of a cohort of young people who are worried about future debt, future costs of raising children and how they will pay for their education.

2023 Future Leaders Index: Spending, savings, and debts takes into account the views of more than 5,000 young people across Australia, and finds that many of them are actively starting to curb their financial liabilities by using practical methods such as short-term savings goals and clear budgeting systems, and are categorised as ‘canny consumers’ who eat in rather than out, shop for specials and delay upgrading goods such as phones until absolutely necessary. 

There is of course a huge differential between those young people who are earning and able to save, and those who are out of work, and cannot save. Almost half of young Australians carry a debt, with the average amount of that debt being around $4,500. Most young people still aspire to own their own home and, despite the high cost of housing and a ‘clear awareness they may never own their home outright’, young people are still prepared to take out mortgages. However, the majority of young people who have bought houses ‘have turned to parents or others to gain either financial assistance or guarantor help to enable them to achieve this goal’.

There is an interesting section at the beginning of the report that places its findings in context. Among the issues affecting young people’s attitudes to finances are the increasing unemployment rate, the effect of technology on jobs, rising house prices, the end of the resources boom and austerity measures from government.

This is a fascinating look at what young people are doing with their money and where this will place them in the future. It will be of interest to policymakers at all levels and anyone working in the areas of budgeting and future forecasts for youth.

This is the first in a series of three ‘White Papers’ with a financial caste that will be released by BDO and The Co-op during 2023; the other two will cover young people’s attitudes to lifestyle, and their attitudes to employment and careers.

Download the 28-page report, 2023 Future Leaders Index, here.

Source:ARACY eBulletin, 8 May 2023.

Disadvantaged youth desperate to score a job


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Last month’s YFX touched briefly on the publication of Voices of the vulnerable: Insights and concerns from young clients accessing our services, and here we break down the report a little further.

This report looks specifically at the views of more than 540 young people who have used MA's services and who took part in the organisation’s 2014 Youth Survey (which gathered around 13,600 responses in total). These disadvantaged young people are keen to work and build a life for themselves; in fact, MA CEO Catherine Yeomans says that they are ‘more likely to prioritise getting a job compared to other young people’.

Most young MA clients had similar aspirations and hopes to other young people, and their views broadly coincided with those of other young people when it came to values and personal concerns. Young MA clients strongly valued family relationships and friendships, despite the difficulties some of them face in their own lives. And both MA clients and other young people listed coping with stress and school or study problems as the two top personal concerns; however the MA clients rated depression as their third concern, while other young people rated body image as their third issue of concern.

For MA clients, where they lived was of concern, as they often lived in regional or remote areas of outer suburbs of cities, where transport and access to jobs can be problematical.

A list of recommendations from MA listed in this report includes, among other things, more investment in career pathways and youth transition programs, addressing the issues of transport, affordable housing and mobility support, and the development of peer-led programs to support young people through transition.

This report will be of particular interest to anyone working with disadvantaged young people in the areas of transition and overall development.  

Voices of the vulnerable (31 pages) is available from the Mission Australia website.

Source:Mission Australia website, 19 May 2023.

Is addiction to porn rewiring young men’s brains?


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Changes in brain function may be brought about by the increasing addiction that some young men exhibit towards online computer games and online porn, according to Professor Phillip Zimbardo of Stanford University.

Prof. Zimbardo’s research has looked at the lives of 20,000 young men and ‘their relationships with video games and pornography’, focusing on those young men who play games to excess in social isolation. He claims that some of these young men are experiencing a ‘new form of addiction’ that combines excessive use of video games and pornography, in which the reward centre of the brain begins to change and produce ‘a kind of excitement and addiction'. He says that young men who are addicted in this way may shy away from real-life relationships because there is no chance of rejection in their online world, whereas this is a real possibility in actual relationships.

Access the original article from The Independent (UK, 10 May 2023) here.

Source:ACCM E-Bulletin, 19 May 2023

The safety of school students with disability


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A report released last November but which has just come to YFX’s attention explores the safety of students with cognitive disability in a school setting; it is the result of research by the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University.

The report, Safe at school? Exploring safety and harm of students with cognitive disability in and around school, looks in detail at how students, their families and others, such as teachers, child protection and disability workers, view the personal safety of this cohort of students, and what can be done to improve the situation.

Although the problems – such as bullying, harassment and isolation – faced by students with cognitive disability are fairly well documented, little is known about these difficulties from the students’ perspectives. Researchers at Southern Cross University aimed to explore and understand these difficulties in order to assist students and ‘build on existing and developing legal and policy frameworks and good practice’.

The 84-page report includes a literature review, and sections on legal and policy contexts, as well as a final section on implications and recommendations for change. The four ‘core questions’ asked by the researchers were:

  • What characterises the experience of harm of children and young people with cognitive disability in and around school?
  • What are the barriers to keeping students safe?
  • What promotes personal safety for children and young people with cognitive disability?
  • How can their legal and human rights be upheld?

In all, the experiences of 27 young people are detailed in the report, and the harms they suffered ranged from ‘cruel teasing to sexual assault’. The effect of these experiences on the young people’s confidence, happiness and general wellbeing were marked, as was the approach taken by individual schools in dealing with the problems when they were brought to their attention.

This report is an important one for anyone working with or for young people with cognitive disability as it affords a real understanding from the young person’s point of view of what can be done to validate their situation, and how it can be improved. It has implications for policy development and legal obligations within a school setting.

The report can be downloaded from the Youth Coalition of the ACT’s website.

Source:Youth Coalition of the ACT newsletter, May 2023.