Blue Mountains News

Planet Youth ramps up in the Blue Mountains

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 28 Aug 2021
An internationally-recognised program that advocates for community-led wellness of young people, across a broad range of issues, is ramping up in the Blue Mountains.

To celebrate, young designers (aged 12 to 19 years) are being asked to create a Planet Youth poster to help promote the program. Three designs will be selected for the campaign and designers will receive $100 for their work.  Get more information

Planet Youth Blue Mountains is being led by the Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) that includes Blue Mountains City Council and Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST). Fourteen other local community organisations are partnering in the program.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “Promoting the health and wellbeing of our young people is always a key priority for Council and our community, however at times like this, when the pandemic is adding so many additional pressures on young people, their families and educators, it is of even greater importance.

“Planet Youth is an internationally acclaimed initiative, which is backed by decades of results-driven research. I encourage all sectors of the community to get involved in this worthwhile initiative.”

Planet Youth – aimed at preventing alcohol and drug use amongst young people by strengthening the social environment they grow up in – has been implemented in over 200 communities in 34 countries across Europe and the Americas.

The program was first developed in Iceland in 1998 and since then the country has shifted from having the highest level of alcohol and drug use amongst young people in Europe, to having the lowest. Significant reductions in bullying and juvenile crime have also been seen. 

MYST Manager Kim Scanlon said: “The Planet Youth research gives us a lot of insight into the factors that protect our young people from using drugs and alcohol, and the factors that put them at greater risk. With this we can work together to strengthen the protective factors as a community. There is a lot we can start doing right now as parents, carers and neighbours, to help our young people live their best lives.”

The Blue Mountains was chosen as a pilot site for the program due to the Local Drug Action Team’s (LDAT) strong local partnerships between schools and youth services, and its commitment to preventative action. The LDAT is supported and resourced by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, which funds activities through an approved Community Action Plan.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation of Australia is working with the Icelandic Centre for Social Research to trial the Planet Youth program in five locations across Australia – including the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Inner West in Sydney, as well as Murray Bridge and the Limestone Coast in South Australia. 

The first phase of the project relied on the collection of data via a student survey to provide baseline information about young people’s protective and risk factors. This took place in November 2019.

The Planet Youth is now focused on working with young people, families, schools, community, community organisations and government to boost protective factors that have been shown to reduce substance use amongst young people. These include increased family time and stronger access to supervised extracurricular activities such as youth clubs, arts programs and sport and recreational activities.

A Planet Youth website, Facebook page and Instagram account have been launched to provide the community with ways to connect with and engage with the program.

Information, resources and support are also available at here

The poster competition closes on Sunday, 26 September, 2021. Find out more at: here.

 
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