Launceston comedians team up to debate and raise funds for youth

Debate team

When it comes to comedy debates the Crash Test Funnies and Fresh Comedy know how to bring the laughs.

Producers Stewart Bell and Andy Collings are planning on doing just that when they grace the stage accompanied by some of Launceston’s finest comedians on August 31 at Saint Johns Craft Beer.

The Headspace Comedy Debate was created as a collaboration between Collings and Bell in support of Headspace to raise funds for youth in the community.

Bell said that there will be two teams battling it out with the theme being “Laughter is the best medicine.”  The night will be hosted by Kerri Gay.  Funds will be raised through door sales but there will also be a live auction.

“We’ve just been given a pass for Party in the Paddock for the show next year, but if anyone would like to donate prizes it would increase the donations for Headspace,” Bell said.

Both Bell and Collins have been involved with Headspace in the past and see the debate as an opportunity to help the youth centre to continue their work.

“A lot of young people involved in comedy locally do have issues with anxiety and depression, so I think it’s really important,” Mr Collins said.

The for and against teams include Jake Baylis, Dan Taylor as Pluckaduck, Gerard Lane, Ned Townsend, Stewart Bell, Andy Collings and Bill Armstrong.

“It’s going to be a fun night, lots of healthy rivalry between us and jokes galore, all for a good cause.”

The Comedy Debate will take place at St Johns Craft Beer.  Entry is $10 and the event starts at 7.30pm.  Anyone wishing to donate prizes can email

Courtesy of The Examiner 

Stigma No More

Stigma No More

Stigma No More inc is probably best described as a community based compassion project. We are all about helping others.

Today, some of our awesome team Karen Burbury, Lana Thomas, Paul Thomas, Phil Kitto and Rod Patterson presented the Launceston headspace Cornerstone Youth Services CEO, David O’Sign, a cheque for $20,000.

We are proud to support the headspace clinical team – they do an amazing job and we’re sure this contribution will help many young people.

Courtesy of Stigma No More

Young talent to go on display

Young talent to go on display

TALENTED young creators will have a chance to shine at the Launceston Youth Makers’ Market on April 13.

Fifteen stallholders have signed up for the event, including Migrant Resource Centre clients offering henna tattoos, Jack Foley Photography and Love Jamin Creations.

Coordinator Alison Filgate said all proceeds from sales would stay with stallholders.

“This is about supporting and encouraging young people,” she said.

Ms Filgate said there was space for more stallholders and buskers aged 12 to 25 to participate and encouraged interested people to contact her on or the Launceston Youth Makers’ Market Facebook page.

The free event will run from 4 to 6pm at Kings Bridge Function Rooms, 147 Paterson Street, Launceston.

Courtesy of The Examiner

Happiness can be just taking a break from Facebook


NEW research indicates that taking a break from social media can be positive for mental health.

The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark conducted a study of 1095 people, allocating some people to continue their usual Facebook use, while others took a break for a week.

After the test, 88 per cent of those not using Facebook said they felt happy, compared with 81 per cent of those still using Facebook.

Studies show the negative effects of social media are exacerbated among teenagers.

The Australian Psychological Society’s annual Stress and Wellbeing survey found 60 per cent of teenagers worry when they find out via social media that their friends have been having fun without them, compared with 17 per cent of adults.

David O’Sign, chief executive of Cornerstone Youth Services in Launceston, said that social media shouldn’t substitute in-person interaction.

He said that friends leading busy lives could lead to online updates replacing in-person contact, meaning friends miss out on “that social interaction that can be meaningful, and that support that you get through that interaction”.

Falling victim to online vitriol is also a risk.

“There’s a lot of uncontrollables in terms of social media in that you don’t know how other people are going to respond to what you put out there,” Mr O’Sign said.

“From our perspective, we’d be thinking about just making sure people are well educated about how they can respond in certain situations.”

Doctor Nicholas Hookway, a lecturer in sociology at UTAS, said we need to examine the positive and negative aspects of social media.

“It’s been quite well documented that social media plays an important role in terms of creating that sense of belonging and social connectedness among different communities,” Dr Hookway said. “It’s been shown to be particularly powerful for people living in remote or regional areas, people from linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTI backgrounds. It’s a really good way for people to find their people.”

Dr Hookway said social media users needed to be wary that the lives people presented online were often illusory.

He said there was “a culture of envy”, as social media users presented an idealised versions of their lives which could cause feelings of inferiority and insecurity in others.

Courtesy of The Examiner

Talking Telehealth with headspace Launceston


headspace Launceston has been using the National Telehealth Service since May 2015. Penelope Watson (hNO Telehealth Practice Manager) recently chatted to Jayne Watson (headspace Launceston Youth Support Worker) and Kate Brennan (headspace Launceston Clinical Services Manager) about their thoughts on the Service.

What advantages are there for young people who chose to see a psychiatrist via the National Telehealth Service?

Having an ‘in house’ service for the young people that we are working with is a massive advantage for all involved. It allows clinicians to have direct contact to the psychiatrist and sit in on the session, while the young person has already previously engaged with the clinician and is in a familiar environment. The dramatically decreased waiting time offered by this service is another advantage, especially as public waiting times can regularly stretch between six and eight weeks.

How has the National Telehealth Service helped young people who have seen a psychiatrist?

It’s a great way for the young people to seek clarification and validation on their diagnosis, while they have the clinician they are familiar with sitting beside them for added support. One young person that completed a session and review liked that she wasn’t seeing a local psychiatrist and was less self conscious about attending the Telehealth appointments.

What are the advantages of the National Telehealth Service for headspace centre clinicians? Why should a centre use it? If you were trying to convince a colleague to use it, what would you say to them?

It’s an excellent learning experience for clinicians. Not only is the service great for diagnostic clarification and medication advice, it can bring a new perspective on treatment ideas that the clinician can then implement with their client.

What three tips would you give to a centre just starting with the service?

The first tip we’d offer is to have one organised representative who takes care of the referral gathering, organising times for young people, making sure they are able to attend on the day and setting up the technology, so there are no mixed messages within the team as to who is responsible for these jobs. Secondly, we’d recommend having the clinical lead working closely with the Telehealth representative to flag young people to follow up with to ensure no one falls through the gaps. Lastly, it’s important to give the NTS time to take off within your service and not set expectations too high, as referrals will take time to build up.

What barriers did you experience when initially using the service?

Technology was a big barrier for the young people before their attended first Telehealth appointment, as most of them hadn’t used a video call setup before and needed reassurance beforehand. Our GPs and clinicians also had to build trust with the new system and NTS psychiatrist.

For any enquiries about the National Telehealth Service, please contact Penelope Watson at

Courtesy of headspace National Office Extranet

Call to improve services for the young

Man standing alone

CORNERSTONE Youth Services chief executive David O’Sign believes the accessibility of services for young people should be a high priority.

Mr O’Sign was responding to a Mission Australia report released on Monday that looked at the aspirations of young people in relation to the socio-economic status of the area in which people live.

The report found that those from a lower socio-economic area broke the stereotype of being ‘‘lazy and lacking in motivation’’, and they desired things that all young people do, such as a good job and financial security.

But their environment can impact these desires, he said.

‘‘If these people are motivated to make a change to their situation, then they need to know what services are there,’’ Mr O’Sign said.

‘‘I don’t know if that is always clear, so it is something we could be doing better.

‘‘The challenge for us is to look at what programs we can put into place to assist with that.’’

Youth Network of Tasmania chief executive Joanna Siejka said she believed young Tasmanians, no matter their background, ‘‘were very motivated to achieve and to do their best’’.

‘‘[But] young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds may face challenges on a daily basis, such as bullying or family conflict, that make it difficult for young people to think that they are able to get through and achieve things such as financial security, making these aspirations very important for these young people,’’ Ms Siejka said.

‘‘If young people have a supportive environment, they have the ability to overcome some of these challenges and focus on realising their dreams.’’

Mission Australia state director Noel Munday said support should include more intensive career advice, access to mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Better access to extra-curricular activities to build young people’s networks and investing in young people from early childhood when ‘‘the returns are highest’’, particularly for vulnerable children, were other suggestions.

‘‘With a youth unemployment rate in Tasmanian of 17 per cent – higher than any other state – we should be ensuring young people have the skills and experience to take on the jobs of tomorrow when our economy picks up,’’ he said.

Courtesy of The Examiner

Information evening to provide a lifeline

Josh Gudsell, co-ordinator of The Talk: A Community Information Night on Suicide Prevention.

IT’S an uncomfortable conversation but one that needs to be had: how do we ask people if they need help and seek help when we need it ourselves?

Launceston man Josh Gudsell has made it his mission to help empower the community to have difficult discussions around suicide with community information evening The Talk.

Representatives from Lifeline Tasmania, Speak Up Stay ChatTY, Headspace North and the Tasmanian Health Service will present at the forum alongside guest speakers.

“Like anyone, I’ve been affected by suicide a number of times, and essentially The Talk was to be able to connect people with the services and connect everyone to understand how they can talk about suicide and seek help,” Mr Gudsell said.

“Everyone has jumped on board. Everyone’s in agreeance that suicide is an issue … and every single person has been keen to get involved.”

The event, to be held July 16 at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston, will be accessible and suitable for all ages.

■If you need help, you can contact Lifeline on 131 114, beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Lifelink Samaritans on 1300 364 566, Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, or MensLine Australia 1300 789 978.

Courtesy of The Examiner

headspace Forum 2015


The inaugural headspace Forum was held at Etihad Stadium this week, with a phenomenal turnout of more than 600 hNO and centre staff in attendance. During the two-day event, hNO programs and centres had the chance to showcase their work to the entire headspace network, with a strong emphasis on sharing and developing ideas with like-minded people. headspace Launceston sent along CEO David O’sign, Community Liaison Officer Alison Filgate and our NYHT (Northern Youth headspace Team) representative Cassandra Berry.

Courtesy of hNO Extranet

Match to give the boot to stigma about depression

Alison Filgate, Kim Gawne, Simon Hogan and Claire Stucas from headspace. Photo courtesy of Alison Filgate

THE beyondblue-headspace Anzac Day football game between Ulverstone and Penguin seeks to destigmatise depression and anxiety.

The one-off game for Mental Health Awareness is the first day of its kind in Australia and seeks to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention within the age group of 14-24 years.

Headspace ambassador and former AFL footballer Simon Hogan, and beyondblue ambassador and board member of Rural Alive and Well (RAW) Leonie Young will be the dual speakers at a post- match function beginning at 6pm.

Ms Young said her speech would focus on identifying the symptoms of depression and how to look out for signs that their friends or family might be depressed.

“We use functions like this to tell people that help and support is available and what the first steps might be if they are feeling anxious or depressed,”she said.

Ms Young said it was particularly important to educate people that there’s no shame in feeling anxious or depressed.

“There’s no shame factor, depression is an illness that affects lots of people in different ways,” Ms Young said.

Ms Young said it was great to be involved with a sporting event to raise awareness of mental health issues.

“It will be great to hear Simon to tell his story and talk about how the pressures of having to be strong and play well every week and be constantly scrutinised affected him.”

Both beyondblue and headspace will have a presence during the game, and Ms Young will be on hand to offer information and support.

“I’ll be handing out showbags during the match and I’m more than happy to talk to anyone who would like to know more about depression and the services we offer,” she said.

Courtesy of The Adovcate

The laneway comes to life

ATTRACTIONS: The scene for the Reclaim the Lane Youth Music and Arts Festival in Rooke Lane, Devonport, yesterday. Picture: Meg Windram.

Youth Week festival gets bigger

ROOKE Laneway in Devonport was brought to life last night as part of National Youth Week. The Reclaim the Lane festival is in its third year.
Devonport City Council community sustainability coordinator Damien Collins said each year the event has grown due to support from young people and the broader community. ‘‘Its primary objective was to be a part of celebrating National Youth Week. Within that were two goals, to offer young people a celebration of youth culture and the second objective was to offer a chance for the rest of the community to celebrate young people,’’ Mr Collins said. With free pizza slices as a draw card, young people enjoyed live music, an aerosol art demonstration, free hair cuts and received information from a variety of local service providers. ‘‘We hope they had fun, maybe they tried something new that they haven’t tried before,’’ Mr Collins said. ‘‘We’ve had a lot of young people involved in the implementation [of the festival] so for those young people we hope that they have learned new skills and lastly, we hope to have showed off the positive attributes the young people have brought to our community.’’ The event was run by the council in combination with the Devonport Regional Gallery and Youth family and community connections.

Courtesy of The Advocate