Planet Youth. Prevention is possible.
Planet Youth Blue Mountains is a community-centred project aimed at preventing alcohol and drug use amongst young people by strengthening the social environment they are growing up in.
Planet Youth is an approach to drug and alcohol prevention that works by focusing on the things that help prevent substance use amongst young people. It supports communities to work together to reduce the ‘risk factors’ that increase the likelihood of young people using drugs and alcohol, and most importantly, to strengthen the ‘protective factors’ that can prevent it.
Planet Youth began in the 90s in Iceland as a local initiative to reduce substance use amongst young people. Over the next 20 years, Iceland changed the game. Iceland went from having the highest rates of substance use amongst young people in Europe, to having the lowest. Planet Youth is now being adopted by communities all over the world.
Recent research has shown that the brain keeps developing until we’re in our mid-twenties, and that alcohol and drugs are even more harmful to young people than previously thought. We now know that any level of alcohol and drug use has significant risks for young people – they are much more likely than adults to suffer injury and harm, cause damage to the brain, do things they may regret, take more risks, and develop substance dependency later in life.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is working with the international Planet Youth team to pilot the approach through the existing Local Drug Action Team Program, which is funded under the Australian Government’s National Ice Action Strategy and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. The local Planet Youth Blue Mountains project is a collaborative effort between local government, community services, schools, parents and carers, young people and the broader Blue Mountains community.
Together we can help our young people live their best lives.
The Blue Mountains area is one of five Planet Youth pilot sites in Australia. The local project began in 2019 with a survey of 391 Year 10 students in Blue Mountains high schools. The next step is to share what we’ve learnt and start working together to make our community a safe place where young people thrive.
The vision for Planet Youth Blue Mountains is that all young people are active, healthy and thriving, connected to their families and communities, and achieving their full potential.
The mission of Planet Youth Blue Mountains is to collaborate in a process of transformative change by embedding primary prevention approaches which enhance young people’s health, relationships, environment and wellbeing.
It takes a village.
The Planet Youth Blue Mountains project involves many local organisations, schools and community members and our network is growing. To find out more about what guides us, you can view and download the Planet Youth Blue Mountains Terms of Reference below. If you would like to find out more about what we are doing or join the conversation to help our young people live their best lives, please join us. Follow the Planet Youth Facebook Page or get in touch through this website or with one of our supporting organisations below.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the beautiful Blue Mountains, the Darug and Gundungurra peoples. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
We embrace the rich diversity of our community and support the inclusion of all people including our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex communities.
Planet Youth Blue Mountains is an Alcohol and Drug Foundation funded initiative that is being implemented by the Local Drug Action Team in partnership with Blue Mountains City Council and Mountains Youth Services Team (MYST) and supported by local schools, community members and a number of community services including Platform Youth Services, Ted Noffs Foundation, Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, Stronger Families Alliance, Belong Blue Mountains, Springwood Neighbourhood Centre, Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre, Blue Mountains Women’s Health & Resource Centre, Catholic Care, Uniting, TAFE Blue Mountains and the NSW Department of Education.