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ONE EIGHTY - A FUTURE FREE OF YOUTH SUICIDE

One Eighty's Sammy Callender and Paris Jeffcoat
One Eighty is run by young people, for young people, One Eighty fills a gap in Australia’s current suicide prevention strategy. The organisation is leading the way for peer to peer models of community support, is raising the profile of exceptional existing services, and is reimagining what youth engagement in the NFP sector looks like.
 
OneTeaspoon supports One Eighty and hopes to bring more community awareness, positive vibes and opportunities that prevent youth suicide.
 
We chatted to Sammy and Paris, the young women running One Eighty, about their personal experiences and to understand more about the various initiatives within the organisation that help to prevent youth suicide.
Jesse Gaupset - volunteer, Sammy - me, Emma Crump - volunteer

Hi Sammy and Paris, when and where did One Eighty begin? 


Paris: Suicide remains the leading cause of death for young Australians under 25. This means that young Australians are statistically more likely to take their own life than die by a motor vehicle accident (ABS, 2019). Our local community has been affected by a number of youth suicides in recent years, and this has had a huge impact on the young people in the area. 

One Eighty was our response to this. It started as a very small group of people talking about what changes they could make in our Avalon community. We instinctively knew that something just wasn’t right with the way young people were interacting with mental health services. There was a clear stigma around mental illness and help seeking, and a distinct lack of services in the local area - the nearest headspace was over an hour away.

What is your personal journey with One Eighty – how did you become involved and how has One Eighty helped in your life?


Sammy: There were a number of factors that culminated in me reaching out to Paris, who along with another woman in the local community, had founded the organisation in 2017.

There had been a number of youth suicides in our community in the previous couple of years, including two boys we had gone to primary school with, and I’d seen the impact that had had on not only their friends and family, but how it had reverberated throughout the whole community.

At the time I was also increasingly becoming aware of the mental health challenges that many of those close to me were experiencing. I remember trying to do some research on the help that was available to them and found it pretty difficult to navigate the system. At this point, I was in the 3rd year of my psychology degree, so I found this pretty concerning, and wanted to do something to increase the accessibility and visibility of professional mental health care services.

I had also experienced my own mental health challenges throughout school and felt frustrated by the complete lack of education that we received. So that led me to feel pretty passionate about raising awareness of mental health in young people and also providing them access to education about mental health.

So, when a mutual friend told me about what Paris has started I reached out to her. We went for coffee and ended up talking for about 3 hours. We spent the whole time bouncing ideas off each other, and found that we were completely on the same page. We both knew that suicide is preventable and wanted to see youth mental health in our community done differently. So we teamed up and have been running the organisation together ever since.

Being involved with One Eighty has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life so far. Having the opportunity to create an organisation from the ground up has been such a privilege and has given me a real sense of purpose, something which I think was previously missing from my life. I have had the opportunity to meet so many more people in the community and talk to them about their experiences.

It has also been a massive learning curve. What started as an idea has snowballed into a rapidly growing and constantly evolving organisation, and we’ve just had to learn along the way. We’ve been really fortunate in that so many people have offered to help us and provide support, so I’ve had the opportunity to learn from so many people, who are experts in their field, whether it be in mental health, running a NFP, HR, marketing, or finance.

Emma Crump - volunteer, Anna Kiernan - volunteer , Sammy Callander
What are some of the signs of the potential suicide?

Sammy:  People show signs in different ways, and these may be verbal or non-verbal (i.e. behavioural). Some warning signs may also be easier than others to pick up. Beyond Blue is a great resource. They outline some of the signs to look out for:
  • A sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future
  • Isolation or feeling alone - “No one understands me”
  • Aggressiveness and irritability - “Leave me alone”
  • Negative views of self - “I am worthless”
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Engaging in ‘risky’ behaviours
  • Substance abuse
  • Feeling like a burden to others - “You would be better off without me”
  • Making suicidal threats - “Somethings I feel like I just want to die”

Most importantly, all warning signs should be taken seriously. If you or another person are in immediate danger, call 000. And never leave a potentially suicidal person alone. Wait with them until help arrives, or take them to your local hospital’s emergency room.

For more information on suicide for people feeling suicidal, worried about someone who is suicidal, who have attempted suicide or grieving a suicide death Beyond Blue has some helpful resources. Head to the link here.


Paris: There are also a number of training courses that individuals can do, to improve their mental health literacy, and improve their ability to identify signs of mental illness or suicidality. One Eighty actually funds some of these courses for community members, in particular Mental Health First Aid and Lifeline’s Accidental Counsellor course. Members of the public who are interested in doing these courses for free can visit our website for more info and upcoming training dates.

What would you say to help a friend in need who you felt might be contemplating suicide? 

Sammy: It’s really important to talk openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings because it could save your friends life. It’s also important to take any suicidal thoughts or feelings seriously.


If you think your friend is suicidal, you need to ask them directly. It can feel confronting at the time, but it’s the only way to assess suicide risk. If they say yes, it’s important to not leave them alone, and to link them with professional help.


If they’re not suicidal, but they are having a difficult time, the best thing to do is to ask them about what they’re experiencing, listen to them, validate their feelings and experiences, let them know that you’ll be there for them, and reassure them that the conversation between you is confidential. You can also offer your help, for example, offer to drive them to the GP, or accompany them to see a counsellor. Something is always better than nothing. You can also offer to spend time with them and encourage them to access professional support.


Head to Beyond Blue and Black Dog Institute for more useful information.

What do you see as the major challenges to the youth culture of today on the Northern Beaches of Sydney? 


Paris: According to the 2018 ‘what’s up in your world?’ survey from Triple J’s Hack, we’re young, smart and broke. Which kind of sums it up. But we would include ‘mad’ in there too. The survey found that mental health was the most pressing challenge facing young people (38%), with housing affordability (27%), and getting a job (16%) coming in second and third. 

I think one of the major challenges Millennial and Gen Z youth culture will face will be how we reconcile these factors, and continue to contribute in positive ways to society.

How is the current Australian political system affecting today’s youth culture society?


Paris: It’s obvious that young people in Australia, and around the world, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of action they see political leaders taking on the issues that matter to them. 

Around the world we’ve seen young people demanding action on everything from climate change to gun reform. And the mental health sector is no different. Here at home, there have been reforms, Royal Commissions, and independent reviews going on to determine how the sector can best include and serve young people. 

By getting involved in advocacy, politics, and various grassroots NFP organisations, young people can have a say in what next gen political systems look like.

How is the local community responding to One Eighty?


Sammy: The support we have received from the local community has been truly astounding. The community has consistently demonstrated their willingness to come together to support a cause they believe in. It really is the reason that we are able to do what we’re doing.

We have had so many individuals and businesses in the local community run fundraisers for us, and this has enabled us to fund the youth mental health programs that we have so far.

These One Teaspoon X One Eighty tees and totes will be available to raise money for One Eighty from April 2020

These OneTeaspoon X One Eighty tees and totes will be available to raise money for One Eighty from April 2020.

Can you share a particular amazing experience at One Eighty?


Sammy: Every time we receive positive feedback from someone who goes to one of our Open Up sessions is amazing! I think also seeing over 250 men turn up to the local surf club on a rainy week night for a Tomorrow Man workshop that we had funded was pretty mind blowing! It was just so cool to see so many guys eager to learn more, whether it was for themselves, a family member, friend, or colleague.

Paris: The response to our first ever event, Art Therapy, in November 2017 sticks out for me. The event was an art exhibition featuring around 20 young local artists held at Avalon Surf Life Saving Club. It was incredible to see the number of local businesses who came on board to help with fundraising elements on the night! It was also amazing for us to get an initial gauge on how interested the local community was in supporting events like this - we had over 250 people attend the event, which was surreal! Given this success, we made the event an annual occurrence, and each year it just gets better!

Zak Mardon - volunteer, Dylan Grant - volunteer, Sammy Callender - One Eighty, Rikki Hopton - volunteer, Emma Crump - volunteer
   

Can you tell us about the various initiatives at One Eighty?

Sammy: Our vision is for a future free of youth suicide. To achieve this, we are taking a grass-roots, bottom-up approach, with a focus on prevention and early intervention. Focused on local impact, we work closely with the community, to empower people to make small but meaningful contributions to the prevention of youth suicide. This approach is supported by the World Health Organisation, which has stated that, “The community contribution is essential to any national suicide prevention strategy.”

We operate across five core programs: school support, community support, Open Up, awareness, and advocacy. However, at the moment our core focus is on strengthening and growing our self-designed Open Up program.

How can we the community support One Eighty?

Sammy: There’s lots of ways people can support One Eighty! As a charity, we of course rely on the generosity of the community to continue funding vital youth mental health programs across Sydney. Holding a fundraiser, whether it’s a BBQ, fun run, movie night, or bake sale, is a great way to support One Eighty.

We’re always keen to partner up with businesses who would like to help us fund programs and increase our impact in the community. And of course, we’re alway on the lookout for passionate and dedicated volunteers to help out.

How do we join and get involved in Open Up if we want to?

Paris: Open Up is a local peer support group for 18-29 year olds, operating in various locations across Sydney. We also run a session for Men over 30 in Avalon.
There’s no need to book, you can just rock up! Come by yourself, or bring a friend. We encourage people of all social groups and identities to come along. And it’s free!
Anyone interested in coming, can visit www.oneeighty.org.au/openuplocations for information regarding dates, times, and location of all upcoming sessions. We also post regular updates about sessions on our Instagram @oneeighty_inc


Sammy: Each Open Up session provides an opportunity for participants to connect with other young people in their area and share their experiences. It’s a discussion space, where you can chat with other people asking the same questions. Let's be real, we all experience challenges. And while they can be isolating and lonely, in our experience, talking about them is an opportunity for profound connection with other people who've been there too.

Imagine a whole generation of people who know how to Open Up!

Thanks Sammy and Paris. You are truly inspirational and we look forward to supporting your journey to prevent youth suicide.

Join the girls and support One Eighty by donating online and attending their upcoming One Eighty Gala Fundraiser event on April 4th.



To help raise funds, they've set up a One Eighty Gala Fundraiser. Details are below:

Date: April 4th 2020

Where: The stunning Palm Beach Boat House 

Join us right on the water’s edge for champagne, canapés, entertainment (and the sunset), on the last night of day light savings! Tickets are $120 per person. 

BUY TICKETS HERE 

All money raised will enable One Eighty to continue funding vital youth mental health programs. We hope you can come and help raise some money for such an important cause.

OneTeaspoon

xx

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