Mental health campaign targets young adults in Blue Mountains pubs and clubs | Blue Mountains Gazette

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Have you ever used alcohol to get by, worried about a mate’s mental health, or started drinking to overcome your anxiety?

These questions are being asked of young adults as part of a new campaign to support them with their mental health and coping strategies, which is spreading across the Blue Mountains.

The initiative, called Never Have I Ever, was launched by DrinkWise and Macquarie MP Susan Templeman, with support from ReachOut, at the Tates Hotel Windsor.

The campaign, which will be rolled out to 28 pubs, clubs and bars across the Macquarie constituency, provides reminders on posters, coasters, toilets and bar mats to encourage young people to reflect on their own experiences and to those of their friends in terms of alcohol consumption and mental health.

Venue spots in the Blue Mountains include the Royal Hotel in Springwood, Lapstone Tavern in Blaxland and the New Ivanhoe in Blackheath.

The posts use the methodology behind a drinking game sometimes popular with young adults called Never Have I Ever, in which players take turns listing potential experiences they’ve never had, and include the ReachOut website. – a resource that helps people under 25 find information. about mental health issues and support.

The campaign follows research by ReachOut which showed a sharp increase in the number of young people feeling more negative about the future, compared to before COVID-19 (44% vs 20% before COVID), and that 8% of respondents may turn to alcohol or drugs during difficult times.

Jarrod White, Royal Hotel licensee. The Springwood Pub is one of the Blue Mountains venues participating in the Never Have I Ever initiative.

With the recent floods, there are more fears that these feelings of stress and anxiety may be heightened among young people in the area.

The idea to connect with young adults in a place where they congregate came from the Macquarie Constituency Youth Advisory Group, which consults Ms Templeman on issues relating to young people in the constituency.

Caitlin Daley, 20, from North Richmond, said she thought the campaign was “really exciting” and it was the subtle approach to messaging that she said would resonate with young people who “don’t don’t like interventions”.

“Being a young adult is tough, but especially in recent years. Young people in the Hawkesbury area have had to deal with bushfires, floods and COVID. We’ve missed a lot of birthdays, ceremonies, seeing our Relatives and Pubs in the Hawkesbury area are a central place for locals, so to have a campaign that can remind us that we still have support is amazing,” Ms Daley said.

Ms Daley said the campaign aimed to remind young adults that ‘you have help if you need it and you are not alone’.

She said isolation due to COVID-19 was a big factor affecting much of her peer network, “a good number” of whom had had mental health or alcohol issues.

“So many people aged 18 to 20 haven’t been able to go out and have fun and meet people. If they go out, they have to sit with a mask. We don’t know how to socialize anymore unless it’s not our phones are finished, which is terrifying,” she said.

Members of the Macquarie Electorate Youth Advisory Group at Tate's Hotel Windsor for the launch of the Never Have I Ever campaign to help young adults find healthier ways to cope with stress than drinking alcohol.  Image: Provided

Members of the Macquarie Electorate Youth Advisory Group at Tate’s Hotel Windsor for the launch of the Never Have I Ever campaign to help young adults find healthier ways to cope with stress than drinking alcohol. Image: Provided

Ms Templeman said: “It’s an idea from young people, for young people, to encourage them to start a conversation with their friends that could lead to them asking for help. What we all want them to know is this. is that battling your mental health is not something to be ashamed of, but something everyone can experience and talk about.”

The initiative is backed by the Australian Hotels Association NSW, and NSW Liquor and Policing Director John Green said the group was delighted to support the campaign.

“Pubs are an integral part of our local communities – and they’re key to rebuilding communities on the other side of a crisis – especially after COVID and the recent floods. We want to make sure that when people come together in approved places, to socialize, have a meal, catch up with friends and family, they also take these opportunities to talk about local issues and support each other,” Mr. Green said.

ReachOut CEO Ashley de Silva said young people have been “disproportionately affected by the pandemic” and for many their mental health has been affected.

“Our communities are now facing new challenges, including flooding. The Never Have I Ever campaign is a timely reminder that ReachOut is a vital mental health support service for young people. This campaign is powerful because it calls for strategies unnecessary coping such as turning to alcohol,” Ms. de Silva said.

The list of Blue Mountains participating in the campaign includes: Alexandra Hotel in Leura; Blaxland Tavern; Blue Mountains Hotel in Lawson; Gardners Inn in Blackheath; Grand View Hotel in Wentworth Falls; Lapstone Tavern; New Ivanhoe Hotel in Blackheath; Oriental Hotel in Springwood; Royal Hotel in Springwood; and Winmalee Tavern.

The story, Mental Health Campaign targeting young adults in Hawkesbury pubs and clubs, first appeared on the Hawkesbury Gazette.

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