Headspace ‘Take A Step’ campaign empowering Indigenous Youth to take charge of their Mental Health

Content warning: This article contains reference to suicide. Please refer to the services at the bottom of this article for support.

Take a Step headspace campaign - ‘strong culture.’ Courtesy of headspace Australia, 2021.

Headspace has recently launched their campaign ‘Take a Step,’ aimed at supporting the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. The campaign is funded by the Department of Health and Minister for Indigenous Australians, Hon. Ken Wyatt MP, and co-created with Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. ‘Take a Step’ encourages First Nations youth to recognise the signs when something’s not right and provides small, practical steps towards feeling better (Headspace, 2021).

“We are dedicated to supporting young people on their social and emotional wellbeing journey. We want to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to understand what social and emotional wellbeing means and when support might be needed,” said headspace CEO Jason Trethowan (2021) in headspace’s media release

To make sure that this initiative is culturally and clinically safe, headspace partnered with community members from across Australia, groups of First Nations youth with lived experience of mental ill-health, and the headspace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Reference Group (Womenjeka Reference Group) and Advisory Group (Headspace, 2021).

William Oui (2021), Torres Strait Islander man and headspace Cultural Practice & Engagement Coordinator, described ‘Take a Step’ as:

“...a campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who understand that it’s important to yarn up and seek help when you’re not feeling too deadly...Take a Step understands the need to think about wellbeing holistically, considering the ways our culture, identity, place and spirituality can make us feel strong.”

Currently, Headspace reported that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 24 and under are three times more likely than other young people to commit suicide. So, to spread awareness of the importance of easy access to mental health services, the ‘Take a Step’ advertisements will be broadcasted on national television, radio and in select cinemas (Headspace, 2021). 

Take a Step headspace campaign video. Courtesy of headspace Australia, 2021. 

The initiative aims to help start some important conversations within Indigenous communities that will hopefully encourage and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to take charge of their emotional and social well-being. The approach focuses on how connecting to culture and community can help Indigenous youth to realise that they are not alone and to share their experiences and support one another to seek help (Headspace, 2021).

‘Take a Step’ provides a suite of print and online resources for Indigenous youth, and for family and friends with young people in their lives. These resources include the ‘Stronger You’ wheel, which is a self-analysis tool based on the work of Gamilaroi psychologist, Dr. Clinton Schultz. You can find out more about the wellbeing wheel here, and create your own wheel here. Indigenous youth also have access to the online community Yarnspace where they can connect with other young people in a fortnightly chat and gain access to headspace resources. Further resources include work and study help from the headspace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support staff (Headspace, 2021).

The ‘Stronger You’  wheel from the ‘Take a Step’ campaign. Courtesy of Headspace, 2021.

Find out more about the ‘Take a Step’ campaign here.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental ill-health, call or visit the online resources below:

Lifeline - 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636, beyondblue.org.au/forums 

MensLine - 1300 789 978

Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800

Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet - healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au