Youth Insearch Supports National COVID-19 Mental Health Plan | Page 17 | Youth Insearch


Mon, 18/05/2020 - 09:00


Media Release

Leading youth intervention charity applauds national COVID-19 Mental Health Plan

The Federal Government’s National Mental Health Plan was a welcome and timely boost to efforts tackling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people’s mental health, according to the CEO of Youth Insearch, the organisation behind Australia’s most successful peer-to-peer program for at-risk youth.

Youth Insearch CEO Stephen Lewin said while the rate of COVID-19 infections was declining, social distancing and isolation are leading to a growing spike in mental illness, placing many young Australians at risk of self-harm.

“COVID-19 is putting additional pressure on young people’s mental health when youth suicide rates are already disproportionately high,” Mr Lewin said.

“Young people are under increasing amounts of pressure, and are finding things particularly difficult right now,” Mr Lewin said. 

Mr Lewin praised the Federal Government’s National Mental Health Plan which called for mental health services to adapt to the current climate and offer new models of care. 

“We have seen a spike in requests for youth mental health support services across all areas,” Mr Lewin said. 

“We have had to adapt our program to social distancing rules and we have successfully transitioned to a virtual peer-to-peer platform to provide support and guidance to young people.

“The Youth Insearch virtual program creates a safe space for all young people, where they can talk through their issues and accomplishments and continue to feel connected to their peers.” 

Mr Lewin said Youth Insearch’s services are being drawn on more than ever as many of the young people the organisation supports are facing isolation in unsafe homes. 

“A young woman from Victoria reached out to her Youth Insearch peer support group when she became a victim of domestic violence and had nowhere to turn. With our support she was able to extract herself from the harmful environment and find a safe place to live,” Mr Lewin said.

Mr Lewin commended the Federal and State Governments for their concerted efforts to keep schools open for those who need it. 

“The young people in our program say that school is the only place they feel safe. 

“For some young people, school is an escape from an unsafe or broken family environment and many need prompting to re-engage with school.” 

The Youth Insearch program empowers young people to take control of their lives and equips participants with skills and opportunities to develop their self-esteem and play a contributing role in society.

Mr Lewin said Youth Insearch’s rapid pivot to virtual peer-to-peer support groups meant it now had 18 weekly virtual support groups across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

“We are now supporting 377 young people through phone support and the virtual peer support groups to manage their mental health and wellbeing through the crisis,” Mr Lewin said.

Since 16 March 2020 Youth Insearch staff have made 2,061 support calls totalling 8,645 minutes. They have also conducted 137 weekly support group sessions, where the young people have been provided a weekly peer support catch-up on Microsoft Teams. 

“We are currently rolling out a virtual intake process and a set of virtual mini-sessions conducted by our young leaders. This will enable us to take new referrals and support the new young people through the intake process and into the virtual support program,” Mr Lewin said.




About Youth Insearch
Youth Insearch is the only Australian organisation dedicated to helping young people face trauma through peer group support, where young people help one another. Youth Insearch’s purpose is to empower young people to take control of their lives by giving them the opportunity and skills to develop their self-esteem and play a positive role in society.


Media contact
Stav Pisk
Account Manager
Wells Haslem Mayhew
02 8904 9991