Mental health epidemics at the opposite ends of life. An epidemic of increasing YOUTH mental health issues, coinciding with an epidemic of increasing loneliness and depression in our Elderly. A National Mental Health Commision reported Kids Helpline counsellors now making more than twice as many emergency calls than two years ago. Health Minister Wyatt lamented in Oct 17 that UP TO 40% OF RESIDENTS IN AGED CARE GET NO VISITORS.
Solution: I have been working pro bono to design and implement a program bringing together Teens and Elders in Aged Care in a Story Sharing program, S.T.E.P ( Seniors and Teens Empathy Program). After volunteering with my own children at our local facility and seeing how few volunteers the residents receive, I knew I had to do something about it
I approached Kids Giving Back to allow me to utilise their website to recruit the teens; then managed all stakeholder relationships within the Aged Care facility( staff & residents) and parents/ teens leading up to and including during and post the pilot.
My website and FB page outline a lot of detail about the incredible community connection a program like STEP is enabling .. an example is a summary below of what some of the Teens and Elders have had to say about the program
Some of the Teens have described their experience over the past 6 weeks as "interesting, fun and informative " others as " exciting, interesting and joyful". One went so far as to call it "sublime". Their Elder partners described a "joy and happiness" to have the Teens visit each week. "I'm just happy they are here !" When Teens were surveyed as to how likely they would be to recommend STEP to friends -50% indicated 10/10 - 25% 9/10 - 25% 7/10
Funded by Sydney (March 2018)