Youth Focus pays tribute to its supporters

Youth Focus has thanked the important contributions of its many supporters who help turn the tide on youth suicide, announcing the winners of the 2017 Make A Difference Awards on Wednesday night.

Eight awards were presented to worthy recipients from all walks of life at a special presentation ceremony at Fraser’s, Kings Park.

The annual Make A Difference Awards are presented to individuals and organisations who have displayed drive and compassion in their support for the important work of Youth Focus.

The awards come as Youth Focus unveiled its dynamic, approachable new identity in a bid to better engage and connect with young people, amid statistics that show suicide is the leading cause of death in young people in Western Australia.

Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Fiona Kalaf said Youth Focus supporters were invaluable in helping the organisation continue its important work.

“These people are the unsung heroes who day in, day out devote their time to helping young people and Youth Focus, whether it be by raising money, organising fundraising ventures, mentoring young people or helping to share awareness about the massive social issue of suicide,” Ms Kalaf said.

“We value greatly the vast number of Youth Focus supporters who selflessly give up their time and energy to benefit the lives of young people in our community.

“These contributions make positive differences to young people’s lives and have a meaningful impact on our community.”

Statistics show that 54 young people aged between 15 and 24 took their own lives in WA last year.

“Despite WA’s suicide rate dropping last year, suicide remains the leading cause of death for children aged between five and 17 and young adults aged from 18 to 25,” Ms Kalaf said.

“Each week, we lose at least one young person in WA to suicide. The ripple effect in the community is profound, and, as a consequence at least one family a week is forced to deal with the abject grief, guilt and pain of losing a loved one unnecessarily.”

In announcing the organisation’s annual Progress Report 2016/17 at the event, Ms Kalaf said Youth Focus remained steadfast in its aim to reduce youth suicide. “Our latest Progress Report shows Youth Focus in a strong position financially and well positioned to continue our tireless work to reduce youth suicide,” Ms Kalaf said.

“Youth Focus is excited to enter its next stage with an engaging new identity that resonates more strongly with young people.

“This brand has been developed off the back of considerable research and in consultation with young people. As such, it’s a reflection of the safe space Youth Focus provides for young people to learn and grow.”

In the year to June 30, 2017, Youth Focus supported 2872 young people through free, unlimited counselling services and school outreach programs.

In addition, the Youth Focus engaged with more than 6000 people through school and workplace sessions, teaching vital skills and the confidence to talk openly about mental health issues and encourage people to seek help for themselves and others.


Employee Award: Nikki Peapell (headspace Midland) – Nikki is a well-respected clinician who has forged positive professional relationships, not only within headspace, but also with stakeholders in the wider community. A caring and supportive leader who keeps her clinical team grounded, she supports staff to provide quality services to clients while gaining skills and knowledge.

Community Leader Award: James Sutherland – James volunteers his time as a mentor to young people through Youth Focus, placing a pivotal role on early intervention of mental health issues. He provides himself as a resource to help transition clients from counselling into the real world.

Peter and Debra Prendiville – For the past seven years, The Prendiville Group has hosted Polo in the Valley at their Duncraig Stud in the Swan Valley, generously supporting Youth Focus by donating $100,000 each year.

Media Award: Carrie Cox – Freelance journalist, Carrie, wrote a powerful feature article for the West Weekend Magazine called The Long Ride Home which highlighted the 2017 Hawaiian Ride for Youth cycling event and three West Australians – two riders and a 17-year-old girl – with different stories about their mental health experiences. Judges said: “Carrie’s passion about educating the wider community on the issues surrounding mental health resulted in a body of work that was accurate, sensitive and compelling”.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Mineral Resources – Since 2014, Mineral Resources has contributed $200,000 a year to support Youth Focus services in WA. The current partnership extends to 2019. Through its partnership with Youth Focus, Mineral Resources has shown commitment to enhancing the mental health literacy and understanding of its employees.

Lavan – As the naming rights sponsor of the Lavan Fit30, Lavan led by example with registrations, encouraging their clients and corporate colleagues to participate in the fitness challenge. Lavan was instrumental in a redesign of the event to ensure it was community focussed and inclusive to maximise its leverage and fundraising for the Youth Focus cause.

Youth Award: Jared Stone – Jared was appointed as a Youth Focus Ambassador in 2016, and has taken a leadership role in raising the profile of youth mental health in Australia. Jared is a passionate individual who gives back by sharing his experiences and acknowledging that mental illness does not stop anyone from being successful in their own right.

Geoff Rasmussen Corporate Citizen Award: Russell Gibbs – As the Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian, Russell has supported Youth Focus in a raft of fundraising events from the Hawaiian Ride for Youth to the Night of Nights Ball. Russell is the ambassador for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth CEO Challenge, which continues to attract new riders each year. Through his involvement in the ride, Russell has helped Youth Focus raise more than $17 million over 15 years.






















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