Alannah Hall is a 20-year-old Human Resources Trainee who works at YMCA WA’s office in Welshpool.
Alannah said, “I believe in the 'Why not' campaign because it is giving a voice to the future of Australia. This is truly believing in the power of inspired young people and giving us the opportunity to be empowered and heard.”
In YMCA Australia’s Voice of Young People Report 2017, mental health was nominated as the most concerning issue for young people today. In the report it was identified that 80% of young people do not feel their voices are being heard on mental health issues.”
When asked why the issue of mental health was so important to her Alannah said “I know many people who continue to struggle with mental illnesses and aren’t giving the support they need. It truly saddens me to say I know people who have taken their own life and other people who self-harm on a weekly basis. Personally, I have had friends come to me for help when their mental illness has gotten too much for them. We are living in a world where young people are trying to treat their friend’s illnesses and it can have devastating outcomes.”
“Mental health conditions are health issues that are not normally visible, there could be people around you fighting against a mental health issue on a daily basis that you can’t even see that are pleading for help.”
From the Why Not campaign Alannah hopes by speaking out young people will hear her message of support and action.
“I want young people to know where to go for help if they or someone they know needs help. I want them to know that they are responsible for helping break down the stigma and misconceptions which surrounds the issue. Mental health conditions are not a sign of weakness.”
And for the young people who feel like they are not being heard Alannah said “Stay motivated, it can be almost impossible to keep motivated if you do not feel like you are being heard. It is important for all of us to stay united to ensure we get our voices heard. If the current approach isn’t working open you mind to another possibility to be heard.”
Alannah is very passionate about the issue of mental health and support services available for young people. She said “I’d love to see more preventative solutions put into place, which all young people have access to, as well as the intervention and recovery stage solutions. “
Alannah was recently also YMCA WA’s Young CEO for a Day where the issue of mental health was an important issue she raised with the Executive team.
YMCA is asking Australia ‘Why Not,’ on three issues young people have said they want addressed as a priority being youth unemployment, mental health and marriage equality.
YMCA WA CEO Ross Kyrwood said: “Young people have and always will shape the future, but only when they are inspired, empowered and heard. We hope that through this campaign YMCA can be the vehicle to highlight important issues that young people care deeply about.”
To find out more about YMCA’s Why Not campaign go to www.whynotorg.au