THIS Sunday, hundreds of young Gold Coasters will come together at Broadwater Parklands for the third Check It Fest – a free suicide prevention festival aimed at encouraging young people to check in with their mates.
Check It Fest is led by Headspace Southport and is organised by a group of youth organisations and interested community members.
The initiative first started in 2012, with approximately 400 young people attending, as well as 14 service providers.
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Last year, the number of attendees jumped to 600, with 20 service providers providing information.
This year, it’s expected to be even bigger.
There’ll be live music by Maximo, Opus of a Machine, Clodagh, Scott Dalton and Jackson James Smith, as well as a number of fun activities including a skate boarding zone, dunk machine, capoeira demo and workshop and badge making.
Headspace Southport is a one0stop-shop for young people aged from as young as 12 up to 25 providing free support around mental health, sexual health, drug and alcohol issues, relationships, employment and education.
Community Development Coordinator Andrew Nash said there are three key messages that are promoted to young people on the day.
“We want to encourage young people to check in on their mates; a good mate checks in with their friends to see if they are all good, check out services; there are free, youth friendly services and places on the Gold Coast if you or your mates need support; and check yourself; it’s ok to ask for help or support if you’re having a hard time,” said Mr Nash.
Last year, 180 young people were surveyed at Check It Fest. The data showed that:
- 39% found out about Check It Fest through a friend, 21% from a service and 11% from Facebook
- 80% agreed that attending Check It Fest increased their knowledge of Gold Coast services
- 66% were able to identify all the key messages of the event
- A further 32.5% selected one of the three key messages, leaving only 1.5% unable to pinpoint the purpose of the event.
- 96.5% of the young people survey said they would recommend Check It Fest to other people
Research shows that some of the most successful strategies for preventing suicide for youth involve raising awareness about mental health issues, building community connections and enabling help-seeking behaviours.
This event will incorporate all of these strategies.