Help us to bring together our local Youth Workers to help them to collaborate to be more effective to our young people.

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Youth Neighbourhoods Prevention

YouthNet are a youth and community organisation run by young people. YouthNet is a Registered New Zealand Charity. The vision for YouthNet is to reduce self-harm and suicide in New Zealand and improve overall mental health with special focus on youth. YouthNet currently only operate inside the Waikato Region but are exploring partnerships with other organisations outside the region to provide services outside of the Waikato and potentially nationwide.

YouthNet came about when a small group of Telephone Counsellors at Lifeline decided that our mental health system had failed enough of our young people. The organisation was initially started to get out into schools and speak to the youth about suicide, it was quickly learnt that our schools already have many services going in and speaking to their youth. The second part was that our youth organisations don’t work together very well as a whole, so it was set out to change that.

There are many areas where YouthNet work, some of which are listed below.

Current Projects

Facilitation – Every year, YouthNet aims to provide three (3) community meetings for Youth Workers, Non-Government Organisations, Government Employees, Schools and Churches to attend with the aim to improve collaboration and build relationships between organisations in order for them to be more effective in the roles held in the community.

Emotional First Aiders – Society is screaming out for members of the community to be equipped to as emotional first aiders. Our young people aren’t engaging with the current services that are on offer, therefore we must equip the greater community to enable young people to talk to people the way they are feeling. We must equip people who they can trust, and that has the knowledge required to refer to an appropriate service if required to be change makers in the community. This equipping of the community will focus on Self-care, Active Listening, Paraphrasing and Reflecting Feelings as well as promotion of the current services on offer and how the referral pathways work for these. Seminars for parents, teachers and young people will be run on a regular basis on topics such as drugs, alcohol, sex and what it means to be a teenager in today’s society.

Non-Profit Network – In the second half of 2017, YouthNet will be undertaking the Non-Profit Network Project. This project will focus on the better usage of Non-Profit and Charities funds through a scheme partnered with nationwide and local businesses in order to provide discounted products and services to charities. An investigation into a similar scheme for volunteers of charities will also be explored.

Youthline Services – YouthNet are currently in the project scoping stage of a Youthline/YouthNet collaboration where YouthNet will run Youthline services through a Hamilton Office. This will include running the free telephone counselling line for young people, training members of the public in Personal Development and Basic Youth & Community Counselling, which empowers the volunteers to be change makers in their community. An option of Youth Workers in schools and Face to Face Counselling services will be explored once a hub is operational. YouthNet work very closely with the well-known Telephone Counselling and Community Development Organisation. YouthNet provide Youthline with volunteers for many of their events in Auckland and we are working together to improve each other’s services.

Future Projects

Support: YouthNet’s board of trustees that are out and doing positive work in the community. YouthNet are investigating the possibility to assist in the support of people going through the Mental Health system by providing support people and sponsors similar to what you would see in an Alcoholics Anonymous recovery situation.

Youth Mentoring – Many of the current services that are mentoring youth stop at the age of 13, this appears to be due to the lack of positive change seen in the 13-24 age range as this is a major developmental stage for youth, especially with regard to who they want to be. The team at YouthNet realise that although you may not see the same positive results you are seeing in the under 13 age category, many of the mentored youth can be kept from putting themselves into worse situations by engaging them in appropriate self-care, equipping them with the skills to succeed academically as well as aspire to reach their full potential.

Youth Refuge and Mediation – Many families in Aotearoa experience times where young people and their parental figures fight with each other. Many of the situations where tension is raised can be minimised and talked through, given the right circumstances. YouthNet will look to create CYFS and Police vetted places of refuge in the community that are available 24/7. Once the young person and their parental figure have had enough time to calm down and self-reflect, there will be mediation services available for the parental figure and young person to come together on neutral grounds and discuss where the situation is at and how they can integrate better into their home again.

YouthNet will also focus on community engagement and suicide awareness. It is important that our young people know it is okay to ask for help. Too many young people are afraid to ask for help because they are acutely attuned to a pervasive perception that asking for help implies personal weakness. YouthNet seek to increase understanding that asking for help is an act of courage. Part of our intention is to connect with young people before things get on top of them, at a point when they can still see the light. Our message will also be targeted at supporting and empowering friends and family /whanau of those who going through a self-harm or period of suicidal thought.

Many of the youth of today are using Social Media more often than other channels to connect with each other and support agencies. Social Media will also be a key area of focus for us as we see it as an excellent way to engage the demographic we are reaching out to. We have already begun set up of a website that we can direct people to in order to connect people with the appropriate resources for their needs. YouthNet will also researching opportunities to develop a mobile app in the upcoming years that will focus on our three areas of focus as well as co-ordinate with similar organisations to promote involvement in volunteering and attendance at community events in order to raise positive citizenship levels in New Zealand.

YouthNet are predominantly self-funded by its founders with little external financial support. Our external support to date has come from private donations from people who have seen the work we do. Looking forward, we are investigating in partnership with other agencies where they may be a mutual beneficial e.g. Youthline. As the aim is to increase youth safety whilst reducing self-harm and suicide actions, YouthNet intend to make available all information regarding practical processes should other groups with a similar vision be interested. YouthNet will also be looking at corporate funding as a long term strategy it is believed this will support tracking into more diverse and innovative territory.

It is important for youth to have programmes that invest in what matters to them that reaches them in relevant and effective ways. It is a crucial part of the vision for YouthNet that experience is put to use, with youth helping youth. YouthNet runs a Youth Advisory Panel in order to ensure that the needs of our young people are being met in an appropriate, effective and engaging manner.

With a youth-focused aim in mind, YouthNet will be specifically recruiting speakers who can resonate with a youth perspective, and hold insider knowledge of the effects of suicide whether it be someone they know or themselves. YouthNet are reviewing speakers and investigating the use of Toastmasters to increase the confidence of speakers in their public speaking skills. Speakers may be used for videos for the YouthNet website/mobile app or for public meetings/youth groups with interest already being generated for speakers from YouthNet.

Many of the team at YouthNet have experienced mental health issues through depression or anxiety, with many being touched by suicide or suicide ideation. Having personal experience with mental health issues gives a better perspective on what an individual might be experiencing and helps to be able to be empathetic when supporting them.

YouthNet will recruit volunteers throughout the process of helping others through more of an organic process of having people approach us, unless a recruitment drive is required for a specific event. Potential Volunteers with first-hand experience with suicidal thoughts, suicide inside their network or desirable skills will be given special consideration. Although techniques of self-care will be taught to all volunteers, volunteers will be encouraged to upskill and attend training. YouthNet will look towards sponsoring members of the team through training courses in Suicide Intervention and Telephone Counselling in order to increase their value in the organisation as well as provide them with better self-care skills in order to handle the stress and emotional toll their role more effectively.

Organisation details

YouthNet

Charity
Waikato

YouthNet are a youth and community organisation run by young people. YouthNet is a Registered New Zealand Charity. The vision for YouthNet is to reduce self-harm and suicide in New Zealand and improve overall mental health with special focus on youth. YouthNet currently only operate inside the Waikato Region but are exploring partnerships with other organisations outside the region to provide services outside of the Waikato and potentially nationwide.

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This organisation page was created on 07 Oct 2015.

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