By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
THE facilitator of a teenage bullying resilience program at a Casey medical centre hopes the initiative will receive funding so it is able to continue.
Headspace Dandenong Community Engagement officer Justine Irons, who helped run the My Friends Youth Resilience Program at Berwick Healthcare, said she had been buoyed by the graduation of all the students involved in the initiative.
“The program basically helps to give students life skills and shows them how to bounce back when things don’t go as planned,” Ms Irons said.
“It focuses on what they can do to make sure they can come out the other end of a difficult situation.
“It’s all about resilience and bouncing back and developing coping strategies.”
While the anxiety prevention and treatment program is run at various schools, this is the first time it was run at Berwick Healthcare.
The opportunity came after the medical centre used a $10,000 pre-election commitment from the former Federal Government to fund the initiative.
Doctor and co-ordinator Annie Wells said the programs catered for a group of teenagers, aged from 12 to 16, in a fun and safe environment.
“There seems to be a gap in group services and there is a lot to be said for peer-to-peer learning,” she said.
“There is a lot of one-to-one services for the more severe end of stress and mental health, but there didn’t seem to be lot on this early stage for resilience and social skill development.
“And you often hear the end story when kids are avoiding school, terrified of being in the playground at lunch time with 100 other kids.
“So we’re trying to look at things before that can happen.
“Some people need that one-to-one. For that earlier stage, a group situation is probably better.”
The teams at Berwick Healthcare and Headspace Dandenong are hopeful that they would be able to continue the My Friends program in the Casey area, but Ms Irons conceded that it would come down to funding.
“We’re definitely very keen to continue it,” she said.
“After we ran the first session, our manager at Headspace Dandenong got the whole staff team trained in the program, to keep going with it and keep passing on positive messages.
For more information, contact Berwick Healthcare on 9796 1500.