Toby (22) has his own business Sidenote Sounds that focuses on live production and recording songs. He has brought in his equipment and with permission recorded young people as part of the Y HQ’s Demo Days program, which has had the bands receive radio play and performance opportunities.
Toby is now our dedicated in-house technician, a role not usually given to someone young, but Toby has proven his worth. His business now caters to HQ and various other small-mid tier professional venues and large entertainment venues with some of the best networks in WA for career development.
We are extremely proud of Toby for using HQ as his place to learn, make mistakes and apply critical thinking which puts him above peers when applying for jobs.
October 2021 represented the third year of the Y’s award-winning Inside Our Minds campaign running across Western Australia, as well as nationally, highlighting young people’s experience of mental health to destigmatise the issue and start open dialogue. This year the Y showcased six young Indigenous people sharing their mental health lived-experiences.
Tragically twice as many Indigenous people are likely to die by suicide and be psychologically distressed than non-Indigenous Australians –a statistic we need to see reduced.
Twenty-year-old Jonathon Garlett, a Yamatji and Whadjuk man, chose to speak about his struggle with depression in his video, to connect with other young Indigenous people and help them make good choices. “Through my video, I want to show other young people that they’re not alone in their mental health struggles and they don’t need to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope,” Jonathon said. “I want to encourage young Indigenous people to get help if they need it, and make the choice to avoid substance abuse, and instead connect with their culture.”
This year’s Inside Our Minds Coordinator, Midaiah Harnett, who was a participant in the first year of Inside Our Minds, hoped that providing a space for Indigenous young people to share their mental health journey will encourage other Indigenous young people to seek help. “When I shared my story two years ago, lots of young people got in contact, thanking me for my story and saying that it inspired them to reach out for help,” Midaiah said. “As a young person with several diagnosed mental health illnesses and disorders, including bi-polar disorder and autism spectrum disorder, this showed me how valuable it is to platform diverse voices and reach the young people who are often not represented.
“The decision to highlight a few of the mental health struggles some Indigenous young people have experienced in the hope that others, perhaps with even bigger mental health challenges, realise they’re not alone, that other Indigenous young people who might appear sorted have actually had a journey to get to this point. Even if this series of videos only helps one person, I feel it’s been worthwhile! We need to destigmatise mental health issues, so people don’t feel ashamed or isolated. Reaching out is the first step –it takes courage but it’s worth it!” explained Midaiah.
The Y’s national youth publication platform continues to excel at amplifying the thoughts, opinions, questions, ideas and stories of young Australians.
In the 21-22 Financial Year, the WhyNot platform has published 80 pieces – a 157% increase from the previous year!
Over the last 12 months, 22 were published from WA – an increase from two the year before.
The WhyNot platform brings the Y’s belief statement to life. It provides young people across the country an opportunity to share their voices, experiences, and unfiltered thoughts through a supportive editing, publishing, and promotion process in which they are paid for their work.
As a result of working with WhyNot, 66.3% of those who responded to WhyNot’s Contributor survey indicated they strongly agreed and 31.3% indicated they agreed with the statement, “I feel my voice has been heard and valued”.
The platform also provides the young people who run the platform, the Editorial Committee, an opportunity for personal and professional development, to flex their own creative muscles, and to bring meaningful impact to young contributors through publishing their work and amplifying their voices.
One young person shared, “WhyNot made it easy to get my voice and my opinions out in the world, and I feel like my contributions have the potential to make a difference or inspire others.”
Read some pieces from WA young people here!