Peer-to-peer support is the missing link for the forgotten middle | Youth Insearch


Wed, 26/10/2022 - 12:39


Newsletter, Announcements, Call to Action, Media Release

The allocation of $23.5 million in the government’s 2022-23 budget is nowhere near enough, and has missed an opportunity to address Australia’s youth suicide rates according to Youth Insearch CEO Stephen Lewin.

“Youth Insearch connects young people, most of whom have struggled with childhood trauma, such as death of family and friends, abuse or bullying.  Our model is informed by trained clinicians, we are advocates for supporting through peer-to-peer and lived experience, bringing together those like-minded young people who have previously journeyed through struggles, and have a lot to offer.”

“Whilst we support $23 million allocated to mental health and suicide prevention, including expansion of headspace services, we have long said that part of the solution to decreasing youth suicide levels is strengthing of the peer to peer model.” 

“Investment in mental health services produces economic dividends, and reduces cost to the health budget through fostering productive members of the community,”  Mr Lewin said.

Youth Insearch has recently launched a report - Australia’s Forgotten Middle, redefining the Orygen’s ‘missing middle’ to ‘forgotten middle’.  According to Youth Insearch’s report, these young people are not missing, they have always existed, they have been forgotten - left behind by a mental health system which does not meet their needs.

Youth Insearch Peer Leader Luke Mitchell said that whilst young people appreciate the support of the government offered through the national plan, those who are overcoming childhood trauma must be involved in the conversation as to what is needed.

“Having experienced bullying in my younger years, Youth Insearch played an integral role in my trauma recovery, providing me with access to like-minded young people who understood what I was going through, and in addition to clinicians, provided tangible solutions to progress my journey to healing. Quite simply, if it wasn’t for the support of Youth Insearch, I probably would not be here,” Luke said.

Youth Insearch has recently received government support to deliver their model to regional communities, through the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program, however the organisation continues to lobby state and federal governments, hoping to pave the way for trauma-informed peer-to-peer support to form part of the mental health solutions for Australians.

“Recently released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that in 2021, suicide remains the leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds, and so it is very obvious that more needs to be done. We believe that clinical evidence shows that introducing trauma-informed peer-to-peer support will address those numbers,”  Mr Lewin said.

The Youth Insearch report highlights the need to change the question posed to young people to prevent suicide.

“We need to start asking ‘what has happened to you’, rather than ‘what is wrong with you’.  The solution lies in having an understanding on how they have arrived at their current situation, and what they need to support them through to healing,”  Mr Lewin said.

Youth Insearch will continue their lobbying efforts in the lead up to the May 2023 budget, and highlight how their model bolsters mental health solutions in Australia.



For further information, please contact:
Tammy Wayne-Elliot
Fifty Acres
T: 0414 428 440

About Youth Insearch
Youth Insearch is Australia’s most effective peer-led youth trauma recovery organisation.  Since 1985, Youth Insearch has performed a key role in facilitating vital peer- to-peer engagement and connection through support groups and workshops.  The Youth Insearch peer-to-peer program equips participants with skills and opportunities to develop their self-esteem, take control of their lives, and play a contributing role in society.