Focus on good works: Lifetime Achievement in Mental Health award

Jenny Allen.
Jenny Allen.

YOUTH Focus chief executive Jenny Allen was recognised for her contribution to the mental health sector in WA, receiving the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mental Health last week.

The Churchlands resident has spent the past 15 years at the helm of Youth Focus, an organisation that provides free expert mental health services to more than 2000 young people each year who are at risk of suicide.

Ms Allen said she was honoured to have been recognised at the State Government’s Mental Health Good Outcomes Awards but there was still work to be done.

“Youth suicide is still the biggest killer of young people under 25 in Australia,” she said.

“This award is not for me, but for Youth Focus, and for all who work to improve the lives of our young people: our staff, our partners in the sector and our business sponsors who make it all possible.”

Ms Allen said the greatest change she had seen during her time at Youth Focus was in education.

“There is a whole-of-community responsibility to recognise that a huge social problem existed and chipping away at the stigma surrounding youth suicide is important,” she said.

“What I dream of and push every day to achieve is the ability of young people to recognise the support and love that is there for them if they will just let us in to assist when the going gets tough.”

Ms Allen is an executive director of the Youth Focus board, as well as the only West Australian on the Board of Suicide Prevention Australia, the national peak body for suicide prevention.

Her term as Youth Focus chief executive will finish at the end of this year.

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 13.