Family conflict major cause of youth depression


Positive promise: The Bhatia family has taken the pledge at the recent family movie night at The Corner Youth Centre, Mornington. Picture: Supplied

YOUTH worker Les Twentyman will be in Mornington next week to speak about his life helping those who “fall through the cracks and the injustice they face”.

Twentyman, head of the Les Twentyman Foundation and author of The Mouth That Roared has helped many young people “get their lives back on track”.

His visit arranged by Peninsula Voice will reinforce the need to address research findings which show the number of young people on the Mornington Peninsula suffering depression is higher than the state average.

The number of young people committing suicide in Frankston and on the peninsula is also causing alarm.

The state government has announced funding for the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network to deliver the Lived Experience project designed to “help reduce stigma and promote help-seeking in the Frankston, Mornington Peninsula and Dandenong regions”.

Roses in the Ocean, an organisation supporting those with lived experiences of suicide, will provide training and mentoring to help people talk about suicide.

A 2012 study by Communities that Care commissioned by Mornington Peninsula Shire revealed an estimated 25.5 per cent of students in years seven, nine and 11 with “depressive symptoms”.   

“The prevalence of students with depressive symptoms, at each year level, appears to have remained stable over the 10-year period since 2002,” family services and community planning manager Louise Wilkins said.

“In 2014 Deakin University examined which factors were related to depression symptoms, and what factors would produce the biggest change on depressive symptoms in the shire. Multivariate modelling demonstrated that family conflict was a risk factor that was associated with the greatest odds of depressive symptoms.”

Ms Wilkins said modelling blamed family conflict for increasing the chances of depressive symptoms by 70 per cent.

Other reasons for depression are seen as being life events; loneliness; loss and grief; bullying; alcohol and drug use; low self esteem and body image; discrimination; and physical health problems.

In Hastings and Mornington families have recently attended movie nights (Shed 11 Youth Centre in Hastings and The Corner Youth Centre in Mornington) and discussed the shire’s Take the Pledge campaign.

The “pledge” encourages families to focus on positive and clear communication, spending quality time with loved ones and making their homes more harmonious to reduce family conflict.

Taking the pledge can include such activities as eating one meal together as a family each week or attending a child’s sporting event each week.

Pledge cards are online at

For details about youth support on the peninsula call 5950 1666 or

Advice and help is also available from Headspace Frankston, Mentis Assist and Peninsula Health.

Les Twentyman will speak at the Peninsula Community Theatre, 91 Wilsons Rd, Mornington, 6.30-8pm Wednesday 9 August. Details from Malcolm Duff, 0438 306 594.

  • For crisis support and counselling call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the suicide call back service on 1300 659 467.

First published in the Frankston Times – 7 August 2017

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