Planet Youth ramps up in Blue Mountains

An internationally-recognised program that advocates for community-led wellness of young people is ramping up in the Blue Mountains.

To celebrate, young designers (aged 12 to 19 years) are being asked to create a Planet Youth poster to help promote the program. Three designs will be selected for the campaign and designers will receive $100 for their work. Get more information.

Planet Youth Blue Mountains is ramping up locally. Supplied photo.

Planet Youth Blue Mountains is ramping up locally. Supplied photo.

Planet Youth Blue Mountains is being led by the Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) that includes Blue Mountains City Council and Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST). Fourteen other local community organisations are partnering in the program.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said: "Promoting the health and wellbeing of our young people is always a key priority for council and our community, however at times like this, when the pandemic is adding so many additional pressures on young people, their families and educators, it is of even greater importance.

"Planet Youth is an internationally acclaimed initiative, which is backed by decades of results-driven research. I encourage all sectors of the community to get involved in this worthwhile initiative."

Planet Youth - aimed at preventing alcohol and drug use amongst young people by strengthening the social environment they grow up in - has been implemented in more than 200 communities in 34 countries across Europe and the Americas.

The program was first developed in Iceland in 1998 and since then the country has shifted from having the highest level of alcohol and drug use amongst young people in Europe, to having the lowest. Significant reductions in bullying and juvenile crime have also been seen.

Mountain Youth Services Team (MYST) manager Kim Scanlon said: "The Planet Youth research gives us a lot of insight into the factors that protect our young people from using drugs and alcohol, and the factors that put them at greater risk. With this we can work together to strengthen the protective factors as a community. There is a lot we can start doing right now as parents, carers and neighbours, to help our young people live their best lives."

More information about how the Planet Youth program works and how to get involved can be found at www.planetyouthbm.net.au. The poster competition closes Sunday, September 26