Stay safe and keep mental health in mind during schoolies celebrations says headspace

Youth mental health foundation headspace is reminding young people and their parents to have open and honest conversations to prepare for the schoolies period, and to help young people know how to best take care of themselves and their mental health during what is often a period celebration and partying.

headspace National Clinical Advisor Nick Duigan says although this is an exciting period of life for many young people, there are some practical tips young people can keep in mind to help them celebrate in a safe way.

“Schoolies is a time of celebration for many people across Australia. We want young people and their families to have the information they need in order to have conversations about staying safe through this period.”

“We also think its important young people recognise that health can be impacted during this period of both celebration and change – but there are many ways they can continue to protect their mental health. Our safe partying tips are a great place to start, and can enable open and honest conversations between young people and families.”

headspace safe partying tips include:

For young people at Schoolies

  • We can still have fun without pushing our bodies too hard: Sleep, eat, get some down time and take care of yourself.
  • Set your own standards: You are likely to be faced with new opportunities and decisions at schoolies. Don’t do something because everyone else is doing it, especially if you know you will regret it after.
  • Look after your friends:
    • Don’t leave your friends on their own.
    • Help your friends stay away from risky situations.
    • For each celebration (day or night) nominate someone who hasn’t used alcohol or drugs to stay sober.
    • Arrange a meeting point so if you do get separated from your friends, you know where to go.
    • If you choose to use drugs, tell your friends what you have taken and how much. This makes it easier for the ambulance officers to help if you get into trouble.
  • Safe is sexy: At Schoolies, we may be more likely to be in situations where we are faced with sexual propositions and opportunities. Be prepared and carry condoms/dental dams. Think about consent: Only yes means yes.
  • It’s impossible to know what drug you are taking: To be completely safe, say no. If you choose to use any drug, try a little bit first to see if you have any side effects and so you can feel how strong the drug is and remember don’t use anything on your own.
  • Mixing can get messy: Combining drugs can be unpredictable and dangerous. Mixing drugs makes it easier to overdose on smaller amounts and increases the risk of a bad experience.
  • Watch out for heatstroke: The risk of dehydration and heat stroke is increased when we consume alcohol or drugs. Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, rest and stay out of the sun.
  • Call 000 if anyone is passed out or in trouble: And remember,paramedics don’t need to involve the police.

Tips for parents of young people at Schoolies

  • Talk to your young person about how they can keep safe at Schoolies: try to be informed and use the safety tips above, have an open and honest conversation about what situations they may encounter and how they can be prepared and keep safe.
  • Offer to help provide food: You could help by offering to cook and freeze meals, or give them a shopping list of things to buy. Whilst particularly important during Schoolies, eating properly is not likely to be a priority for them.
  • Let them know they can call: Let your young person know they can call you, day or night, if they are in trouble and that you won’t be angry at them.

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