In March 2016, Youth Services held their annual Wyndham Youth Forum at the Youth Resource Centre with 141 students coming together to participate in a range of workshops lead by community support agencies and staff from various Council departments.

The Youth Forum aims to enable young people to have their say about key issues that affect them directly, and is used to empower and inspire young people. The information and feedback collected will be used to improve and inform services, programs, activities and facilities for young people in Wyndham.


Who participated in 2016

  • 141 young people representing 16 local secondary schools
  • Wyndham Council Staff from 11 departments
  • Community support agencies: Headspace, Whitelion Open Family, Centrelink, YSAS, Western Bulldogs
  • Wyndham Councillor Marie Brittan
  • Sacha Kaluri, Australian Teenage Expo Director
  • Khurram Khan, Wyndham Young Achiever of the Year 2015
  • The Uprising Youth Theatre 

What Concerned You

Young people identified several key themes that arose from the workshops that young people attended. These themes were found to impact on young people’s lives in all aspects and were raised in all of the topics that were discussed at the Forum. These were:

  • Safety: Young people expressed that safety was a concern for them. This included feeling safe in public, open spaces, and around train stations.  
  • Equality: Young people expressed frustration and concerns over perceived gender inequality, especially regarding the opportunities available to males and females at school and in sports.
  • Finance: Young people expressed that they felt concerned about the cost of things such as transport, education, and the ability to take part in recreational activities.
  • Peer judgement: Young people explained that a major barrier for them seeking help when they were experiencing difficulties was being judged by peers.
  • Anxiety: Young people expressed that they often felt anxiety around the pressure to perform at school. 
  • School Curriculum: Young people felt that the curriculum in their schools did not adequately address their welfare needs. They argued that health education needs to be improved in general to focus more effectively on issues like sexual health, mental health and drug education.
  • Service Awareness: Young people are unsure of which support services are available to them. There was a general lack of awareness around support services and programs available in the community, and how to access them with confidence.

Download a copy of the 2016 Youth Forum Findings Report.

Questions from young people at the Forum

How do you deal with drug and alcohol use around public areas?

While it is against the law to take drugs or drink alcohol in public places, sometimes people still do. If you are in a public area, such as walking down the street, at the shops, in the park or at school, and you see a person who is acting as if they may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should be alert but not alarmed. A person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not necessarily pose a danger to you, but it is important to be alert.

If you are feeling concerned or unsafe, you should let a friend, worker or adult know where you are and what is happening. If you think the situation is dangerous or you or someone is at risk of being harmed, you should call the emergency services such as Victoria Police or Ambulance Victoria on 000.

For more information on what to do when you are around people who may under the influence of drugs or alcohol, check out  or

Why were drugs made in the first place? How did it all start?

Drugs have been around for thousands of years. The earliest recorded use of drugs dates back to 5000 B.C. when the Sumerians used opium. Historically, psychoactive substances have been used in religious or cultural ceremonies, for medicinal purposes, or in the general population in a socially approved way (eg, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine). The issue of loss of control of the substance, heralding today's concept of addiction, was being discussed in the 17th century.

History illustrates that our relationship with substances is shaped by multiple factors, including culture, society, religion and beliefs, individual psychology (addictive, anxious, antisocial personalities), cognition (addiction as a “learned” behaviour), neurobiology, and genetics. Addictive behaviour results from the conjunction of a substance and a personality. You can find more information about the history of drugs at these websites:

Why are people angry with drugs and alcohol?

There are many reasons why people can get angry with drugs and alcohol. Drug and alcohol abuse can have many negative impacts on a person’s life and also affect their family, friends, relationships, and employment.

Having a family member or friend who uses drugs can be a source of immense stress, conflict, worry and despair. It is normal to feel helpless, frustrated, worried and upset by someone's drug use. People who use drugs can behave very erratically, and it can be difficult to know how to act around them. Their substance use may contribute to them acting in distressing ways. They may become aggressive, angry and violent, or withdrawn and detached. All members of the family can be affected, and while there are no simple answers, there are some strategies you might try. More info is at

What process does a young person go through to get into rehab, and what do they do when they are there?

What is a rehab?

Residential rehabilitation programs are for people who have already detoxed off drugs and/or alcohol and are attempting to live life without using drugs or alcohol. Some residential rehabilitation programs have facilities which can cater for people wishing to detox upon entry into their programs. Another name for residential rehabilitation programs is therapeutic or residential communities. They are medium to long-term programs which are often in the countryside or in semi-isolated location and provide a regulated environment where individuals can build their new life skills and self-confidence before returning to the real world.

Specific youth residential rehabilitation programs such as Birribi provides a structured, experiential environment based on therapeutic community principles for vulnerable young people managing their alcohol and/or other drug issues. Birribi’s holistic recovery approach consists of a mixture of individual and group therapy as well as recreational, vocational and educational opportunities to improve social identity.

Rehabilitation programs are usually quite strict and do not tolerate any drug use. Some people drop out because they find the rules a bit hard to take. There are also other programs like community based houses in which young people  learn new ways of having fun, meeting friends and getting on with their lives without falling back into drug use. There are different phases of treatment which the person needs to complete prior to completing the entire program .

Most rehabilitation programs are medium to long-term, ranging from 6 months to a year or more. Because of this they often have long waiting lists. Many private rehabs can accept clients almost immediately and have no waiting lists.

If you are a smoker find out if the rehab has a smoking area — many programs have become non-smoking and this can be a major barrier for some people. However they may offer nicotine withdrawal treatments like patches, Champix, Zyban or nicotine patches.

The process

The usual process if a person would like to enter a residential rehabilitation program is to make contact with the rehabilitation service. The worker will ask a set of questions over the phone (intake process) and then make a time to attend the residential rehabilitation program to have a tour and assessment. This process would usually take about 2 hours to complete. The person is then placed on a waiting list.  Prior to entering a residential rehabilitation program the person will need to undergo a detox.

What is a detox?

A detox is a process where the body removes toxic or unhealthy chemicals in a short period of time. It is generally done in a formal supervised medical or health specialist setting or can also be done at home. Some rehabs have detox facilities and others required a detox before entering a rehab. Most hospital-based rehabs have the facilities to provide detoxes at the beginning of a treatment program. The detox units as staffed by youth workers and medical staff including nurses and doctors. There are anywhere between 4 to 8 beds depending on the detox unit that you attend .  The programs consist of learning relapse prevention and harm reduction strategies, focus on your physical health. The referral process consists of a young person , family member or service providing calling the service and having a screener completed in which the referrer will be asked questions about the reason for referral.  An appointment is then booked in which a comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment is completed with  the young person .

What does it cost?

A rehab treatment can range very greatly depending on if they are government financed programs or private rehabs.  Usually a percentage of the persons Government Support benefits ( Centrelink) will be used .  Government funded residential withdrawal units are free however private detoxes charge a fee and may be covered by private insurance.

Where can you go to get support for drug and alcohol use?

There are many places around Wyndham and surrounding areas where you can access help and support for drug and alcohol abuse. If you are in immediate danger or at risk of harm, you should call emergency services on 000. 

Some services you can call are:

Whitelion/Open Family
Drug and alcohol counselling located at the Youth Resource Centre,
Contact: 8734 1355 / 1300 669 600

Western Health
Adolescent Community Programs, Drug Health Services
3-7 Eleanor St, Footscray
Contact: 8345 6682 /

IPC Health 
Wyndham health service
117-129 Warringa Crescent, Hoppers Crossing
Contact: 8734 1400 /

Joseph's Corner
Support and counselling in Hoppers Crossing
Contact 9315 2680

Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
24/7 counselling
Contact: 1800 888 236 /

Youth Support & Advocacy Service
Substance abuse support
Level 1/131 Johnston St, Fitzroy Ph.9415 8881
Contact 24hr Advice: 1800 458 685 /

Pharmacotherapy, Advocacy, Mediation & Support
Support for pharmacotherapy programs
Contact: 1800 443 844 /

Australian Drug Foundation
Contact: 1300 858 584 /

Australian Drug Info Network
Contact: 9611 6100 /

National Drug Information
Contact: 1300 660 068 /

Why is there not much support for GLBTIQ?

Each year the support for the GLBTIQ community grows stronger and more support services are popping up all the time. If you’re aged 12-25 and live in Wyndham, check out our Q Group – a social group and committee for young people who may be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex, Gender questioning, Pan Sexual and Straight, who want to meet like-minded people and participate in events and activities in Wyndham and Melbourne, while building confidence and providing support.

We can also help you to find other local services that are GLBTIQ friendly. For more information contact the YRC and ask to speak to the Q Program Coordinator on (03) 8734 1355

Why aren’t there more youth forums more often?

There are many youth forums that happen during the year all around Victoria. In Wyndham we run one annual Youth Forum which brings together students from all local secondary schools to have their say about issues that affect them in the community. However you don’t have to wait until the forum is on to tell us what you think and get involved to do something about it!

Check out our volunteer youth committees who work on various programs, services and events for other young people in the local area. They are always interested in hearing feedback and new ideas from young people just like you. Check out 

How can you promote the Youth Resource Centre better?

Lots of promotion is done each term to let the local Wyndham community and young people know what’s happening at Youth Services across all of our sites in Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit, Point Cook and Wyndham Vale.

If you’d like to stay updated on the latest programs, events and services, sign up to our mailing list by emailing or follow us at

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