Media Release: Youth Insearch awarded $4.74m Federal Government grant to implement youth lived experience pilot program | Youth Insearch


Sun, 22/05/2022 - 00:00


Media Release, Newsletter

Youth Insearch, Australia’s most effective peer-led youth trauma recovery organisation, has secured a $4.74 million Federal Government grant to pilot a youth lived experience workforce program in rural communities.

Stephen Lewin, CEO of Youth Insearch, says that the grant will enable Youth Insearch to make a significant impact in rural communities by supporting at-risk young people to overcome their trauma and mental health challenges through the implementation of the pilot.

“Youth Insearch is encouraged to have secured this important funding and thank the Federal Government for their support. Since its inception, Youth Insearch has delivered peer support through a volunteer model. This funding will allow us to further develop our paid peer support workforce, which is the missing piece of the puzzle in eliminating youth suicide rates,” said Mr Lewin.

“Sadly, suicide remains the leading cause of death in young Australians. Through our lived experience workforce, we’re committed to collaborating with young people in their communities to shift the dial on youth suicide. Our goal is for every young person across Australia to eventually have access to our peer-led programs, a goal that we are now considerably closer to as a result of this funding.”

Youth Insearch’s purpose is to empower young people to take control of their lives and play a positive role in society. To achieve this, their proven program addresses disadvantaged youths’ underlying mental and social challenges to overcome their trauma and reconnect with services and society.

Rikki-Jai Whyte, a Youth Insearch Leader and former participant in 2018, shares that being part of the Youth Insearch program continues to benefit her to this day.

“Youth Insearch found me at my worst time and helped me get out of the hole I was in. By mixing me with other young people that were going through similar traumas, they made me feel special, appreciated and real, like I am heard, like I really matter.

“Being a part of the Youth Insearch program helped me in many ways, but overall it’s inspirational and gave me a second chance at life. I still use the coping mechanisms I learned from the program every day, so it’s wonderful that the program is being recognised by the government – it saves lives.”

Of the 32,000 people Youth Insearch has supported, 56% identify as female, 20% are Indigenous and 20% identify as LGBTIQA+. Among participants, 90% experienced trauma as a child, leading to lasting impacts on mental health. Data found that 2 out of 3 participants planned to complete suicide in the past, and half of those had attempted suicide, with 1 in 5 stating on intake that they felt it was likely they would complete suicide in the future.

Independent evaluations found that 91% of Youth Insearch participants who felt suicidal prior to attending the program no longer felt suicidal and 89% of participants who had attempted suicide previously did not attempt suicide after attending the program. Similarly, measurements through validated clinical assessment tools found that the psychological distress of Youth Insearch participants over the first 90 days of the program reduced by 37% from severe to mild, and that their suicide risk was reduced by 35% from high to low risk.


Media contact: Dasha Romanowski | 0416 144 959 |