Youth Summit aims to combat loneliness

October 29, 2020 BY

The 2019 Geelong Youth Summit focused on mental health and wellbeing, community safety, and the environment.

Regional Youth Voice provided young people across the G21 region an opportunity to share their thoughts on overcoming social isolation at a Local and Vocal Summit.

The summit was held yesterday (Wednesday, October 28) over Zoom and was open to anyone aged 15-20.

Surf Coast Shire resident and summit spokesperson Tyson said loneliness was a significant problem during COVID-19.

“We know anecdotally, reinforced by a survey conducted by the Youth Affairs Council Victoria, that the biggest issue for young people is a lack of social interaction,” the 17-year-old said.

“Especially now, young people are feeling disconnected and socially isolated from their peers, despite most still being connected online.”

Not-for-profit charity Upstart helped Regional Youth Voice facilitate the event and Upstart co-founder Heather Kelly said the summit was “a fantastic opportunity for young people”.

She praised the Regional Youth Voice and for their contribution to the summit.

“They are a bunch of very switched on and motivated people who want to help make the world a better place,” she said.

“Their generation is more aware of social issues and really wants to make a difference.”

The event was emceed by 2019 winner of the Geelong Upstart Challenge Jaegar Fawcett. It also featured key speakers such as VicHealth’s Mental Wellbeing manager Irene Verins, Headspace chief executive officer Jason Trethowan, and G21 Health and Wellbeing director Zoe Barnett.