Indigenous Young People Share their Mental Illness Journeys to Help Reduce Suicide during Mental Health Week


Now in its third year, the Y’s award-winning Inside Our Minds campaign kicked off Saturday 9 October, running across Western Australia, as well as nationally, highlighting young people’s experience of mental health. Designed to destigmatise the issue and start open dialogue, this year the Y, joint sponsors with Mineral Resources is showcasing six young Indigenous people sharing their mental health lived-experiences, which will be played at the Northbridge Piazza during National Mental Health Week from Saturday 9 until Saturday 16 October.

Tragically twice as many Indigenous people are likely to die by suicide and be psychologically distressed than non-Indigenous Australians – a statistic we need to see reduced.

Twenty-year-old Jonathon Garlett, a man from the Yamatji and Whadjuk nations, chose to speak about his struggle with depression in his video, to connect with other young Indigenous people and help them make good choices.

“Through my video, I want to show other young people that they’re not alone in their mental health struggles and they don’t need to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope,” Jonathon said.

“I want to encourage young Indigenous people to get help if they need it, and make the choice to avoid substance abuse, and instead connect with their culture.”

This year’s Inside Our Minds Coordinator, Midaiah Harnett, who was a participant in the first year of Inside Our Minds, hopes that providing a space for Indigenous young people to share their mental health journey will encourage other Indigenous young people to seek help.

“When I shared my story two years ago, lots of young people got in contact, thanking me for my story and saying that it inspired them to reach out for help,” Midaiah said.

“As a young person with several diagnosed mental health illnesses and disorders, including bi-polar disorder and autism spectrum disorder, this showed me how valuable it is to platform diverse voices and reach the young people who are often not represented.

“This year I chose to highlight a few of the mental health struggles some Indigenous young people have experienced in the hope that others, perhaps with even bigger mental health challenges, realise they’re not alone, that other Indigenous young people who might appear sorted have actually had a journey to get to this point. Even if this series of videos only helps one person, I feel it’s been worthwhile! We need to destigmatise mental health issues so people don’t feel ashamed or isolated. Reaching out is the first step – it takes courage but it’s worth it!” explained Midaiah.

A different Inside Our Minds video will be released each day during Mental Health Week across the Y’s social media, as well as playing throughout the week at the Northbridge Piazza and universities across WA.


Category: Youth