At the end of 2017, Young Consultant Dwayte from the Northern Territory was awarded the Young Person’s award from NT Mental Health Coalition for his amazing work with ‘ShoutOut’. CREATE congratulates Dwayte for winning this important award, and are so proud of his commitment to breaking down stigma for young people with a care experience and to Headspace!
1. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I have been in care since I was one and I am now 17 years old and getting ready to leave care. I had a stable care placement up until the age of 14 years when things changed. I have had eight placements since. Over the years, I have had more than 20 caseworkers with only one I really connected with and felt they cared and listened to me to get the support I needed at the time. I have a part time job at Coles and am also a Headspace ‘ShoutOut’ manager and a CREATE Young Consultant and am really happy with how far I have come in the last 18 months.
2. TELL US ABOUT YOUR AWARD.
I recently received the Young Person’s award from NT Mental Health Coalition for my work with ‘ShoutOut’. I help create conversations around youth mental health with young people in the community. I do this by attending local community events with an information stall, running workshops and doing lots of social media promotion and updates on the Facebook page.
3. WHAT ARE YOUR MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS?
Besides this award, I was really proud to be asked to cohost this year’s NAPCAN Child Protection Breakfast with a local celebrity for 250 guests from the NT Government, community organisations and other important child advocates. CREATE and other Young Consultants were there to support me, which meant a lot to me.
4. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Having the confidence to take on these roles in the community. Doing Speak Up last year helped me with this and I actually began to advocate for myself more in regards to being in care and what I wanted. I used to be very shy and could not talk to people and now I have to manage other volunteers, meet with community organisations and speak with young people about mental health.
5. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE IN CARE?
I would tell them to find something that you are passionate about and grab any opportunities you can to learn new skills to become more confident and to become more vocal. Don’t be scared to ask lots of questions when first getting involved. When I first started this work at Headspace I didn’t know anything about mental health. I don’t think young people realise how common it is and it’s a topic a lot of people don’t like to talk about. By talking about it and educating people we can remove the stigma and help those people who need help feel comfortable to go and seek it.
Do you know a young person in care achieving amazing things?
Help CREATE snap that stigma and share a positive story over social media, just hashtag #snapthatstigma or email firstname.lastname@example.org