Georgia Appointed Peer Reviewer for the City of Melville
The City of Melville has recently developed a new youth strategy titled, Directions from Young People 2021. This new strategy is to better understand what is important to young people in the local area and identify what they need to be done in the future to ensure the City meets the needs of youth.
Year 12 student Georgia Mack applied and was appointed as a peer researcher as part of the project. She tells us about her new role below.
What is a peer researcher?
The role of a peer researcher is to discover more about the youth (ages 12-25) in the City of Melville community, in terms of how the Council can make the Melville area a better place for young people. The peer research team is made up of eight people from the Melville City Council (MCC) and we work in cooperation with YACWA (Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia), as well as the Community Development Officer for Youth from MCC, Felix Ross.
What is involved in being a peer researcher?
Being a peer researcher has involved two aspects. Firstly, I have surveyed 30 people aged between 12 and 25, individually in a conversational manner, to find out more information from the people who enjoy the areas in the City of Melville. Most of the people I surveyed were students at Santa Maria who lived in the area. Such questions on the survey were focussed on places, events or activities people enjoy in the area, which forms of communication would maximise interaction between the council and youth, as well as any ideas and feedback youth, had for the council.
Secondly, I was part of a smaller team of three peer researchers who worked together to help the MCC with their social media. Social media is identified as one of the most effective forms of communicating with young people. As peer researchers, we were able to provide advice and ideas to the communication leaders from the MCC on how to maximise interactions with youth. Such ideas that were provided included making a more appealing Instagram and Facebook account to young people, doing collaborations with local businesses, and including more young people on social media platforms. Together, we put forward multiple Facebook and Instagram posts targeted at youth, with the goal of increasing interactions with younger people in the area.
What have you enjoyed most about your role?
This role has been an amazing opportunity for me to meet many new people, as well as discover much more about the community I live in. Hearing the perspectives of other people in the area provided insight as to what can be done to help the youth as well as the common issues among young people.
Being part of a group, which is designed to make a change is very exciting and inspiring since I feel I have made a direct impact on the local government. I hope when the final action plan comes out later this year, it will express the ideas and reflect the responses of the youth through the plans of the local government.
What are you hoping to do in the future? Will this position help you on your path to that goal?
I have been fortunate to gain early acceptance into the degree of Psychology at UWA, where I hope to qualify as a clinical psychologist. I have been keen on psychology due to my strong interests in mental health as well as wanting to help people with their struggles.
The information found through the surveys has highlighted mental health as a struggle within the community of young people and is emerging as one of the most important issues for our generation. Having the ability to impact the mental health of youth in the community through my input as a peer researcher will hopefully be just the beginning of my path in helping people with their personal wellbeing. Seeing this connection highlights the need for psychological help amongst youth, reaffirming my interest in psychology.