10 Oct, 2016 Last updated: 19 Oct, 2016

VicHealth is providing more than $400,000 in grants to support the resilience, social connection and mental wellbeing of Victorian youth.

Download the media release.

Twelve new projects connecting councils, community and young people will receive funding through VicHealth’s Bright Futures for Young Victorians Challenge.

Projects awarded funding include an initiative to create a youth space focusing on job opportunities, development of a community story telling pop-up booth and a new program aimed at young dads who are at risk of losing connection with their children due to disadvantage.

The Bright Futures Challenge aims to build resilience in young people and grow social connection within their communities. The projects supported through the Challenge will trial preventative strategies to equip young people to better cope with challenges they may face.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter announced the grant recipients today (10 October) on World Mental Health Day.

“World Mental Health Day importantly encourages people to seek help and like our Bright Futures Challenge, aims to foster social connection through communities,” Ms Rechter said.

“Almost 75 per cent of mental illnesses commence before 25 years of age so it’s crucial we take a preventative focus and proactively work to build resilience.

“Research shows young Victorians with strong social and support networks are less vulnerable to depression and better able to cope with the ups and downs of life.

“VicHealth wants to get 200,000 more Victorians to have a greater level of resilience and connectedness by 2023 and the Bright Futures Challenge is an important part of this.”

VicHealth’s 2016 Community Attitudes Survey of more than 3000 Australians demonstrated the importance of social connection with a majority of respondents listing positive relationships with family and friends (58% and 57% respectively) in the top three issues impacting people aged 12-17 years. 

The recent VicHealth-commissioned CSIRO Bright Futures report, released last year, identified five key megatrends that would impact the mental wellbeing of young Victorians over the next 20 years. These include an increasingly competitive job market, the continued rise of digital technology, diversification of the population and workforce, and over –exposure to online content.

The research provided an important opportunity to get on the front foot on a range of issues impacting young people into the future and formed part of VicHealth’s Mental Wellbeing Strategy.

Funding for the Bright Futures Challenge is for a one-year period. Projects that demonstrate the greatest potential during the pilot phase may be offered further funding.

Successful recipients of the VicHealth Bright Futures grants are listed below. More information can be found at www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/brightfutures

 Project  Local Government
 My Journey – online youth jury  City of Melbourne
 We know your name, but not your story – collecting and telling stories  Corangamite Shire Council
 Wired into the Warra – a virtual youth space, including job opportunities and homework support  Gannawarra Shire Council
 Bandmates – connects people and volunteers to attend music gigs together  Maribyrnong City Council
 Safe and Supported in Cardinia – support for same sex attracted, sex and gender diverse  Cardinia Shire Council
 Dad Space – helping young dads retain a connection with their children  Wyndham City Council Youth
 The art of belonging – providing a connection to a local place, including art workshops  Yarra City Council
 Green Valley Garden – keeping disadvantaged secondary students in school  Latrobe City Council
 Upstart and Uplift – social enterprise to enhance young peoples’ skills and confidence  Brimbank City Council
 The Moreland Youth Movement – empowering young people to have a voice in their community  Moreland City Council
 Understanding Reality – sharing information on current issues, and de-stigmatising mental health conditions  Hindmarsh Shire Council
 Youth-Friendly Employer  – support network for job-seekers  Moonee Valley City Council

Media Contact: Cimara Doutre, Senior Media Advisor, 03 9667 1319 or 0435 761 732 or email [email protected].