Imagine a world where everyone has the opportunity to build the resilience needed to overcome challenges and thrive. That's the world I'm working to create.
In Australia, and particularly in my own backyard of Western Sydney, the data on youth mental health is frightening. Almost two in five young people (aged 16-24) have a mental disorder, and the suicide rate has unfortunately increased by 27.8% in the past six years.
Despite these worrying trends, I believe there is real hope to turn these numbers around. And it starts in my opinion with us needing to focus on building a culture of resilience, a real resilience revolution.
Although we are living in an ever-increasingly difficult world for young people to navigate, the one learned behavior that will have a huge positive impact on reducing the mental health crisis we are facing is personal resilience.
Where do we start?
The good news is that we already have the framework in place through our culture of sport in Australia to really make a positive impact on the crisis we are facing and help foster youth resilience. Sporting communities have the potential to play an even more important role in building resilience in young people over the coming years than ever before. By providing a safe and facilitative environment where young people are challenged to solve problems and learn new skills, to lose and win and grow, and stay connected with others, sporting communities in 2023 may hold part of the solution we need to address the mental health crisis we are currently facing.
If you are interested in learning more about how sporting communities can help build resilience in young people, I encourage you to visit my website at www.chrisbarton.com.au. You can also contact me directly to discuss more ways your sporting community can make a difference.