No one could doubt the psychological impact that Covid-19 has had on young people around the world, and it’s been no different in Australia, where youth mental health was already a serious concern well before the pandemic.

According to Beyond Blue, over 75% of mental health issues become apparent before the age of 25 and, shockingly, suicide is the major cause of loss of life in young people.

In the Inner West of Sydney, police youth liaison officers report an alarming rise in incidents of violent attacks by and against young people in the neighbourhood’s parks and reserves since March- April 2020, when schools were shut temporarily.

Now, a new survey by La Trobe University has found that 81% queer youth nationally report high or very high levels of psychological distress.

For Addison Road community Organisation, the mental health stress exacerbated by the pandemic is more than just heart-wrenching statistics. As a broad-based community development organisation, we engage with young people in many different ways, from our all-welcome low- cost Food Pantries in Marrickville and Camperdown, to the annual Public Schools Arts Festival.

 

Young people today have so much on their shoulders

but perhaps too few opportunities to speak out  

and be seriously heard.

 

During the hardest months of the pandemic in 2020, we provided assistance to young people from many walks of life through our Food Relief Hub, working with other organisations like Twenty10, Marrickville Youth Resource Centre and Weave Youth & Community Services.

Many young people who come to us for food relief get on board as volunteers in the Addi Road Food Pantry or Food Relief Hub, demonstrating the powerful principle of mutual aid. They’re gaining work experience, developing skills and contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by helping us divert food from going into landfill.

Offering opportunities and support to young people in our community is something we have been doing at Addi Road for many years, especially in Youth Week.

This year, we’re taking an extra-creative approach to Youth Week with our events. Word on the Street is a series of three poetry-spoken word workshops, followed by an all-ages poetry SLAM where participants can try out their new work, alongside established writers, poets and performers.

The workshops, led by experienced, dynamic young poets, will help participants develop their own creative vision and voice – individual, idiosyncratic, reflective or angry. Young people today have so much on their shoulders and so much to say, but perhaps too few opportunities to speak out and be seriously heard.

Recognising that LGBTIQ youth experience even higher rates of psychological distress, self-harm and suicide – while youth services generally cannot keep up with demand – we will be raising funds for Twenty10’s LGBTIQ youth support services at the Word on the Street Poetry SLAM at that follows the workshops.

 

Mel Ree from Australian Poetry Slam will lead one of Addi Road’s Word on the Street workshops. She believes in the power of storytelling to overcome difference and share understanding of the human condition.

 

Word on the Street at Addi Road

13-16th April, 2021

 

Poetry-spoken word workshops for young people (12-25 years) led by experienced performance poets from across Sydney (details to follow on social media) Wednesday to Friday, 13-16th April.

$20 per workshop or free for participants referred by a youth service. Tickets here from Humanitix.

Word on the Street – Poetry SLAM for all ages at Addi Road, Friday, 16th April, 6pm supported by Sara Saleh, a Bankstown Poetry Slam director and recent winner of the prestigious Peter Porter Poetry Prize.

The all-ages Friday night SLAM provides a public platform for participants in our spoken word workshops (13-15th April) to perform their new work. It is also open to any others who wish to come along and celebrate the power of words to create change in our lives and communities. You don’t need to book – just come along to listen and support or perform.

Word on the Street takes place in our large Covid-safe community space, Gumbramorra Hall. Refreshments from the Addi Road Food Pantry will be available in the Hall, and from the delicious Koshari Korner Egyptian food truck outside.

Live captioning and Auslan interpreting available – please get in touch with Mina to arrange on 9569 7633 or programs@addiroad.org.au

Word on the Street at Addi Road workshops and poetry slam are supported by Inner West Council.

 

 

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