'Never Have I Ever' Initiative Launched

John Green, Australian Hotels Association NSW Director of Liquor and Policy, Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman, Caitlin Daley Macquarie Youth Advisory Group member, Simon Strahan CEO DrinkWise.
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Mental health has become a major concern over the years, particularly over the past several years.

Drinkwise and Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, with the support of ReachOut have created the ‘Never Have I Ever’ campaign.

The launch follows research from ReachOut which found a substantial increase in the number of young people feeling more negatively about the future, compared to before COVID (44 per cent versus 20 per cent pre-COVID), and how 8 per cent may be turning to alcohol or drugs during tough times.

Concerns that feelings of stress and anxiety may be heighted for young people in the local community with this month’s floods.

The new initiative uses the popular Never Have I Ever concept to raise questions that prompt young people to think about their mental health and to remind them that alcohol is not the answer to coping with those challenges.

It reinforces that asking for help is okay and that support services are there to provide help and advice if needed.

The initiative doesn’t involve the consumption of alcohol, but promotes young adults to consider difficult questions such as:

  • Never Have I Ever - been worried about a mate’s mental health.
  • Never Have I Ever - started drinking to overcome anxiety.
  • Never Have I Ever - used drinking as a way to cope.

Drinkwise CEO Simoon Strahan believes getting young adults to open up about their challenges is vital.

“We’ve seen more young adults worried about their futuresw given the impact of COVID and, more recently, the monumental challenges associated with the floods.

“While it has been inspiring to see communities rally to provide support, we want to ensure our next generation is taking active steps to help manage stress and anxiety.

“It’s critical that young adults know that professional help and support is available from ReachOut and other mental health services - and that trying to relieve stress and anxiety with drugs or alcohol is never the answer.

“The campaign is about prompting young adults to have a conversation with each other and highlighting that asking for help is a sign of strength.”

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said the idea for connecting with young adults in a place where they gather came from her youth advisory committee.

“This is an idea from young people, for young people, to encourage them to start a conversation with their mates that might lead to reaching out for help,” Ms Templeman said.

“What we all want them to know is that struggling with your mental health is not something to be ashamed of, but something that everyone can experience and should be spoken about.”

Macquarie Electorate Youth Advisory Group member, Caitlin Daley said being a young adult was hard, but particularly so in the last few years. “The youth in the Hawkesbury area have had to cope with bushfires, flooding and COVID,” Ms Daley said.

“We’ve missed a lot of birthdays, formals, seeing our loved ones and lots more.

“The pubs in the Hawkesbury area are a central spot for the locals, so to have a campaign that can remind us that we always have support is amazing.

“I think it’s really exciting.

“It is relatable in terms of the Never Have I Ever game, so I hope that we catch some people’s attention that it is relatable, but that it’s not just a game.

“It’s a resource for them to use and that they’re not alone and that there are other people that are struggling, too.” Caitlin relied on medication when struggling with her own mental health issues.

“I really wish that this was around when I was younger.”

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