Chairman's Message

1st December, 2014

Welcome to the latest edition of the Passages Resource Centre newsletter. As another year comes to an end, this newsletter gives us the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate our achievements over this last year. I'd like to personally and sincerely thank all those who continue to donate to, sponsor and support our events, including the Passages Race Day and this year's new event supporting Passages the Cottesloe Golf Day. Without your involvement, we would not have the vital funding we need to continue to provide quality services and support to street present youth.

Through our Passages Resource Centres in Northbridge and Peel, we support young people in many ways. We look to build relationships with those who drop in, offering them practical assistance and support, while identifying their individual needs and issues. These are commonly to do with homelessness and unemployment, but can also include legal problems, health concerns, financial issues, addictions, counselling and general day to day living.

There can be many complex issues that form the reasons why young people are doing it tough and are homeless and we need to continually build on our networks with other agencies to ensure we have access to the right services to support the young people who visit Passages and so that we remain relevant in a constantly evolving environment.

Some of the young people we see have complex mental health issues and require ongoing support. The St Vincent de Paul Society, through Vincentcare specialises in helping adults with complex and enduring mental health problems, but there is a distinct lack of mental health facilities and resources tailored for young people both locally and nationally.

Figures show that at least one third of young people will have had an episode of mental illness by the age of 25 years. Among young Australians aged 12-25 years, depression is the most common mental health problem. Adolescents with mental health issues have a higher rate of suicidal thoughts and other health-risk behaviours including smoking, drinking and drug use.

With this in mind, it is worrying to find that many young people with the most severe mental health problems do not receive professional help. Mission Australia's 2014 Youth Mental Health Report, found that over 60% of young people with a probable serious mental illness, were not comfortable seeking information, advice or support. This reinforces the need to ensure that young people have adequate and early access to age appropriate mental health education and services.

Our Passages Resource Centres work closely with young people presenting with a mental health problem, to break down any stigma they may have around admitting to having a mental health issue, and ensuring that they are given access to the support they need. Our Passages Resource Centres are unique in that they look at the holistic needs of young people that visit the centres. As a society we have an obligation to give our young people the best chance at a safe and fulfilling life and this is why Passages is such an important service.

Without the generosity and commitment of all the staff, committee members, donors and supporters of Passages Resource Centre, this vital work would not be possible, so on behalf of all the young people who have been assisted by Passages this year, thank you.

In closing I would like to thank the Passages Resource Centre Boards - Northbridge and Peel for your work over the past 12 months, as well as thank the staff in both services.

And on behalf of the board and the staff, I wish you and your families a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year and thank you all for your ongoing support, we hope it will continue in 2015.

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