Attended by service providers and stakeholders from across the world, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference on the Gold Coast provided three days of learning, networking and growing a greater understanding for the complexities of working with young people. 75% of mental disorders first emerge before the age of 14, so informed practice in this area is essential for us as we continue to work in schools and sporting clubs.

Co-deign was a strong theme for the conference – the importance of working alongside young people when providing services to glean their insights, wisdom and needs. An emphasis was also placed on pulling more young people into service delivery, ensuring peer support when working in this area. Lived experience was highlighted as providing insight into mental health issues and illnesses and opportunity to use stories to inform our program delivery.

Young people desire to learn, grow and impact the world around them. They want to be stakeholders in their own mental health and wellbeing solutions, and they wish to inform and direct the information and services that are seeking to work in this space. Overall, co-design and the impact it will have in this space was the biggest takeaway – the need for us to seek out, hear and value the voices of the young people in our communities.