Supporting young people who live in families affected by mental illness through early intervention and mental health education.
Kookaburra Kids supports children and youth aged 8 - 25 years who live in families affected by mental illness, by providing early intervention and mental health education in a fun and age-appropriate recreational and educational camp and activity day program.
Funds raised: $33,310
Kookaburra Kids pitched at TFN Sydney for the second time in September 2017 to raise funds for the delivery of a camp for high school children who live in families affected by mental illness. The camp combines a psycho-education program, fun recreational and creative activities and, for the older children, introduction to a program that will support them as they make their way out of school to enter tertiary education and meaningful employment. Children have opportunities to share their stories in a supportive, understanding environment and learn skills that will build their confidence, resilience and future independence. Importantly, they will have respite from the challenges at home with lots of fun and laughter.
In November 2018, 33 young carers arrived at Camp Toukley for a weekend of fun activities, games and exploration. It also served as a safe space for these young carers of people with a mental illness to talk, share and be part of a community that understands them. It also served as an opportunity for them to open up and share their experiences of being a young carer and any challenges they may face.
Chat group was delivered each day – Kookaburra Kids’ evidence-based psycho-education program. This focused on educating them about mental illness, where to turn for help, coping strategies and looking after their own mental and physical health. The young carers had many opportunities to share their own experiences with peers and leaders in a non-judgmental, understanding environment, as many of these children have shared experiences. During camp, each child was linked with a volunteer leader for support and guidance, and had access to a qualified clinical consultant for any individual support required.
On the Saturday, a “Taking Flight” activity was held. The Taking Flight initiative at Kookaburra Kids helps provide opportunities and support to develop foundational skills, knowledge and attributes required in successful adulthood in these young people who are at-risk in this transition due to familial mental illness. Taking Flight also continues the Kookaburra Kids priority of enhancing mental health literacy and skills related to effective help-seeking.
The Taking Flight activity was a creative, supported, peer-based exercise aimed at targeting key foundational skills required in adolescence and early adulthood, including:
- accessing and using information and knowledge;
- interpersonal communication;
- planning and organising;
- teamwork/collaboration; and
- needs identification and basic goal setting.
Read their Impact Report
Funds raised: $30,650
Kookaburra Kids pitched to The Funding Network in May 2015 and raised $30,650. They are seeking funding for a program to help young women develop leadership skills, work associated proficiencies, personal self-development and career readiness.
Caring for a sick loved one can be a full-time activity. Being a child in the position of carer is more demanding, and can mean putting oneself second at a time when personal growth is incredibly important. Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation takes as its focus the girls and young women who live with a parent with mental illness who requires their caretaking. The foundation provides respite and education for young people through camps and activities programs, ensuring age-appropriate support for their own mental health and encouraging children to realise their potential. In providing these services, AKKF supports whole families affected by mental illness.
The funds went towards the pilot of Girls Taking Flight, a program focused on developing leadership skills, career readiness and personal self development for girls and young women who care for family members with mental illness. Each participant in the program pilot received professional support, mentoring and resources to build a career plan and make positive, achievable future goals for themselves. Thanks to TFN funding, AKKF also opened a new office and is beginning the establishment of a national program for Defence kids - a rising demographic of children who have a parent suffering from PTSD or mental illness as a result of military service.
Ursula is 18 years old and has been involved with Kookaburra Kids for eight years. Both of Ursula’s parents suffer from mental illness and Ursula suffers from anxiety. Ursula’s father’s hospitalisation was confusing and scary to Ursula as a child. For Ursula, Kookaburra Kids has created the chance to be a carefree child. Learning about mental illness increased her understanding and she had learned new coping strategies such as relaxation to help calm herself in stressful situations. The Girls Taking Flight program enabled Ursula to narrow down her career choices - she successfully gained early entry to study a Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Wollongong and is now looking into majoring in health promotion and becoming a community welfare worker.
Read their Impact Report