Making a Big Splash for mental health

Mental health is one of the three most important issues for young Western Australians.

 

Compared to five years ago, four times as many young people now present to Emergency Departments with mental health crises including repeated self-injury and attempted suicide.

 

The message from mental health experts was clear, prevention and early intervention is crucial to turning things around.  Children and their loved ones need to be given the tools to recognise and cope with issues as they arise.

 

These alarming figures led the Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy to look for a way to help, so The Big Splash WA initiative was conceived.

 

Developed in conjunction with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), the initiative is raising awareness of children’s mental health and equipping young people and their families with tools and resources to help them cope with whatever life throws at them.

 

The Big Splash WA kicked off in August with the launch of the Schools Program. A series of age appropriate mental health resource kits for students from pre-kindy to year 12 have been developed around three key messages:

  1. You are not alone.
  2. It is ok to talk about your feelings and concerns.
  3. Real help is available.

North Woodvale Primary School with Stitches and their dolphin sculpture

Each kit is full of age appropriate activities, linked back the school curriculum and has a teacher and parent kit to support it. Over 46 schools throughout WA have already signed up to the program and are implementing the resource kits with their students.

 

The dolphin was chosen to represent the initiative because of the many similar traits between dolphins and humans.  Like us, dolphins thrive in groups, display distress in isolation, have distinct personalities and flaws, protect their young and most vulnerable, and need to come up for air and to blow off steam from time to time.

 

In order to engage as many West Australians as possible in raising child mental health awareness, a pod of vibrant dolphin sculptures will shower the city with a splash of colour along The Big Splash WA Art Trail from January to March 2018.

 

Painted by commissioned artists, these dolphins provide the public an opportunity to show their support for child and adolescent mental health while learning ways in which to stay mentally healthy themselves.

 

The Big Splash WA app will also be available to download from the App Store or Google Play in January and is full of extra information on the dolphins, mental health tips, special rewards and offers.

 

You will be able to use the app to track your progress around the art trail, add photos to our gallery and share them on social media #thebigsplashwa #pchfwa.

 

Thank you to all of our wonderful corporate sponsors, like Deloitte, South 32 and Technical Resources who have come on board to make a difference in the lives of WA’s young people. We are also delighted to see so many of you participating in the Big Splash Challenges! The more people we have, the bigger the splash that we can make for children’s mental health. We can’t wait to see all of your photos!

 

For more information visit thebigsplashwa.com.au

 

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