Young people are more likely to listen to each other's advice.
A new scheme encouraging 17 to 24-year-olds to come up with creative ways to stop the name-calling, neglect, bullying or social exclusion that young people with mental illness can face has been launched by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).
It says there is a growing body of evidence to show that young people are more likely to be discriminated against than older people with mental illness, and they may be discouraged from seeking help due to fears of being ridiculed or shamed.
Its new Point Of Difference (POD) incubator programme is looking for videos, websites, apps, writing, drama, music, art and other ideas to combat such stigma, and is focusing on 17 to 24-year-olds as it believes that young people are more likely to take notice of people their own age.
“Young people are best placed to tackle social exclusion from their peers and others,” says Hugh Norris, MHF director of strategy, advocacy and research. “Young people listen to their peers, and they have the creativity to know what will make people sit up and take notice.”
POD participants will take part in a six-month development and support programme to give them the industry contacts, tools and mentoring they need to bring their vision to life. MHF hopes that the resulting POD projects will influence the attitudes and behaviours of people who discriminate and socially exclude young people with mental health issues.
“We’re looking for young people who are passionate about making a difference for people like them, creating a New Zealand where everyone is accepted and included,” Mr Norris says.
There will be three POD programmes over the next 18 months, and applications for the first one close on Friday March 4, with further intakes in June, and February next year. Full details are available at www.pod.org.nz.