Your Road Starts Here is a new digital platform packed with resources, videos and advice to help young people leaving high school.
It is a collaboration between the Hunter New England and Central Coast Public Health Network (PHN), Central Coast Local Health District, headspace and creative agency Lead by Story.
Through a co-design process with mental health clinicians and local young people, the comprehensive platform has been developed to help young people manage life and expectations and build resilience.
It is arranged into six key categories with topics including goals, money, friendships, career, community and support networks.
The platform also offers a journal filled with pages where young people can write their thoughts, and tools to assist with planning.
PHN CEO Richard Nankervis says school leavers have been identified as a vulnerable cohort.
“Research shows that young people finishing school often struggle with their mental health and suicide risk is heightened,” he said.
“The pressure of the perceived level of expectation from friends and family can be overwhelming, particularly when the young person believes the expectations exceed what they are able to achieve.
“Alongside the Central Coast headspace, the PHN identified a gap in the market for early intervention services for young people and collaboratively the idea for the platform was born.
“We are very proud of what has been achieved and look forward to expanding the program.”
Founder and Director of creative agency Lead By Story, Will Small, led the co-design process.
“During the co-design process we quickly realised that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ path for young people after school, and it’s never too late to change direction,” he said.
“We used the imagery of the road to represent a sense of journey/adventure, which resonated with a desire many young people expressed to travel, to explore and to try new things after school.
“Year 13, as it’s sometimes called, can be both overwhelming and exciting, and we wanted to communicate that it’s OK to feel all the big feelings.
“Part of what is difficult about finishing school is the pressure young people can feel to have things ‘figured out’ straight away.
“Affirming that it’s natural for transitions to take place over longer periods of time, and that it’s OK to make changes along the way and try different things seemed like one of the most helpful things we can do for young people.
“The song The Road We’re Making, performed by Fletcher Pilon addresses these things in an authentic way.
“I hope the platform can become a tool that is used by schools and youth workers for many years to come as a ‘starting point’ to spark important conversations that go well beyond a website.”
Further stages in the project will see Youth Access clinicians reaching out to local high schools to conduct group sessions, mental health presentations and counselling with young people.
This will enable the clinicians to provide education and early intervention to young people and also advise on support available in the future.
View the project at https://www.yourroad.au