Hi, my name is Mali. I am currently sixteen and in Year 10 at Magdalene Catholic College, 45 minutes south-west of Sydney. I live on a rural property and was one of ten young people selected on the UNICEF Australia Steering Committee for the NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought in 2019.
The reason I joined the WH&Y Commission was because I have seen so many young people struggling in my area, and I wanted to make a change that counts.
I believe there is a stigma attached to mental health issues and an inability to have ‘real conversations’ about what is going on for teenagers so they can feel like they are not alone in facing these challenges. There is a problem with isolation - even trying to have cyber connections can be difficult in rural areas because connections can be poor quality and expensive. And there is a lack of structured activities that are appropriate and engaging for teenagers, especially for those in the 15 to 18-year-old age group.