In western Sydney, young people make up approximately 16% of our local health district’s population and make enormous contributions to their families and the community.
Youth Week, which runs from 4 to 14 April, is an opportunity for young people aged 12 to 24 years to express their ideas and views and act on issues that affect their lives.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the health and wellbeing of young people in western Sydney and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 have brought disruption to many of the ‘norms’ of young people’s lives, including opportunities to participate in traditional forms of education, paid employment, socialisation and community activities,” said Westmead WSLHD Youth Health Services Physiotherapist, Deanna Darwall.
This Youth Week we want the young people of Western Sydney to know they have access to a wide range of services through WSLHD, including our Youth Health Service.”
The WSLHD Youth Health Service operates out of two sites: High Street Youth Health Services in Harris Park and Western Area Adolescent Team (WAAT) in Mount Druitt.
The services provide a coordinated, holistic approach to young people through early intervention, response and capacity building initiatives across WSLHD, with a particular focus on young people who are marginalised, disadvantaged or at risk, with a particular focus on young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The WSLHD Youth Health Service can be accessed through self-referrals and assisted referrals through parents, family members, friends, GPs, school teachers, counsellors, or other service providers, with the young person’s consent.
“Young people often experience barriers to accessing the right health care at the right time,” said Deanna.
“We recognise that young people need to be active in decision-making processes about issues that affect their healthcare.”
Another way the Youth Health Services team connects with young people is through the Western Sydney Youth Council.
The Council is made up of 16 young consumer representatives aged 16 to 24 years and provides information and local perspectives on ways to improve the health of young people in western Sydney.
“For Youth Week 2022, the Council is running stalls out of some our hospitals to hear from young people accessing our services about what works well, what we can improve and the health issues that are impacting young people currently in our community,” said Deanna.
“As says this year’s theme, “It’s Up to You’th”!