young people report problematic levels of loneliness, a critical risk marker for isolation and disengagement.
For young people who have experienced trauma (such as abuse or neglect), mental health illness or disability, the risk of disengaging and poorer life outcomes is even higher.
In suburbs such as Werribee in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, a higher proportion of young people are exposed to experiences that put them at risk of disengagement and social isolation, increasing the risk of suicide and long-term mental health issues.
Recognising this challenge, Werribee Primary School and Werribee Secondary College wanted to take action.
So together with the support of Wyndham City Council, they partnered with TRY to provide life-changing group mentoring programs for their most at-risk students.
The programs support improved relationships in the school community, peer-to-peer empathy, and the ability for young people to seek out and welcome support.
Run weekly, the programs engage students by working collaboratively to develop and implement projects based on the group’s interests.
By providing a safe and supervised space, experienced TRY youth workers and trained volunteers, are able to build relationships with young people in order to provide support in a casual and inviting environment.
At Werribee Primary School, group projects have given life to a new vegetable plot and a Gaga Pit, both of which have become firm favourites within the school community.
Students reported feeling more confident and better able to express themselves. And the staff agree! Praising the program for providing personalised support outside of a classroom setting and increasing school attendance.