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Doing it for the KIYDS

Think Local

For North Shore student Jeanti Profaca, getting an introduction to the Ku-Ring-Gai Youth Development Service (KYDS) was set to become her personal and academic saviour.

The 19-year-old, who has now embarked on a successful pathway to a Science Degree at UTS in Sydney, says this had not always been the case for her in Year 11 and 12.

"I had been having some mental health issues and my school drama teacher suggested that I contact KYDS," she tells North Shore Living.

"I had weekly counselling sessions for about six months and this helped me so much to offload my problems, stay focused for the High School Certificate and deal with the emotional turmoil I was going through."

Jeanti says she cannot imagine where should would be without their help.

Over the past year, the organisation has offered help and services to hundreds of students between the ages of 12 and 18 years. These revolve around drug and alcohol issues, domestic violence and family issues, mental health, suicide, self harm, school problems and sexual assault.

KYDS is a registered charity and does not receive any state or federal funding, but relies on support from community donations, grants and fundraising activities.

Clinical manager Kym Carlson - who has been with KYDS for the past five years says the organisation's work in the area of "study stress" has been recognised by the Mental Health Association of NSW and received a commendation in the 2016 Mental Health Matters Awards.

"This program has been very well received by students, schools and parents alike on the North Shore and is instrumental in reducing stress-related incidents for senior high school students," she explains.

Workshops have been conducted at many schools including Naremburn and Chatswood High, together with Hornsby Girls and Turramurra High Schools. She says by taking early-intervention workshops out to school communities, KYDS establish a link with many of the young people who subsequently come later for individual help.

"I was attracted to the concept and help provided by KYDS because it is so community based," says Ms Carlson. "It's really very close to my heart and the variety of the work makes it very unique. Clients do not need a referral from a GP and our clinicians can stay engaged with our young people for a longer period of time - and repeat visits are quite common."

KYDS' patron is professor Dame Marie Bashir and Jessica Rowe AM has just become its official ambassador. The organisation says Ms Rowe is perfectly placed, due to her personal experiences in coping with mental health issues, in articulating messages that would resonate with younger people also struggling.

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