From March, children and youth from the Newcastle and Hunter regions who have a parent with a mental illness will be able to access support through a free, tailored weekend camp to help them better understand and cope with their parent’s illness.
The Hunter camp, to be held on 10-12 March, was made possible by A $20,000 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.
Kookaburra Kids CEO Pam Brown said running a dedicated camp in the Hunter region will allow Kookaburra Kids to support the growing number of referrals from the area.
“Kookaburra Kids’ programs have been successfully running in the Sydney regions for over 13 years, providing a place where kids can feel safe to talk about their parent’s illness without the fear of being judged”.
“Many of these kids have never spoken to anyone about their parent’s illness. At camp, they meet other kids who are living in similar situations, reducing feelings of isolation and of being different”.
“Camp is also about having fun, participating in confidence building activities and just being kids”.
Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Executive Officer, Graham Batten said the Foundation was proud to support Kookaburra Kids to bring such an important program to the Hunter for the benefit of regional young people.
“With the prevalence of mental illness such a significant and growing issue in regional communities, the consequent effects on families, particularly children, is a real but often unappreciated impact to our society. Children living in Regional areas with a family member affected by mental illness should have access to services and support to allow them to live a normal, and fun, life.
“Kookaburra Kids is deeply grateful to Newcastle Permanent Charity Foundation for their generosity and commitment to getting this program up and running,” Mrs. Brown said.
“This funding will help Kookaburra Kids establish a connection with families who are desperate for support”.
“Research shows providing early intervention programs to at-risk children greatly decreased the risk of them developing their own mental health issues later in life”.
“The aim is for Kookaburra Kids to be able to deliver regular camps for children in the Newcastle and Hunter regions”.
Following the success of this camp Kookaburra Kids is looking at opening a local office and is also looking for people to volunteer with the organisation.
Children can be referred to the program online at kookaburrakids.org.au.
For more information or to get involved phone Suzy on (02) 9525 7474 or email [email protected]