Locals work closely with Iceland’s Planet Youth.

Community organisations, school staff, students, health services, local police officers, council and others from the Blue Mountains Local Drug Action Team joined international group Planet Youth in the Blue Mountains in July, to discuss the findings of the second Planet Youth Australia survey on youth wellbeing, lifestyle, and substance use.

The surveys are a key part of the Planet Youth model, which is an internationally renowned, evidence-based community approach to supporting the wellbeing of young people and reducing their alcohol and other drug use. The model is being piloted in Australia through the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Local Drug Action Team program.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, who opened the workshop said: “Planet Youth is not a conventional alcohol and drug prevention project. It is a community-driven effort that aims to make our community a better place for our young people – a place where they can grow and thrive, be supported and connected, and where they have every opportunity to live their best lives.

“It is invaluable to have such robust local research, backed by international expertise, at the centre of Planet Youth to guide our action plan.”

Undertaken by local Year 10 students, the survey findings were analysed by the Planet Youth team and presented at the workshop by Planet Youth CEO, Dr Páll Ríkharðsson and Dr Ingibjörg Eva Thorisdottir, Chief Analytics Officer for the Icelandic Centre for Social Research & Analysis. The workshop provided an understanding of the experiences of young people locally, as well as opportunities for action.

This was the second Planet Youth survey conducted in the Blue Mountains.

“Our aim in implementing an Australian version of Planet Youth is to prevent alcohol and other drug harms, by working with communities to boost known protective factors. For example, increasing young people and parent interaction and access to out of school activities,” Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM said.

“Prevention is an important part of a comprehensive harm reduction approach to minimise the impact of alcohol and other drugs, particularly among young people.

“Planet Youth shows that long-term investment in community-led prevention leads to significant reductions in alcohol and other drug use.”

Since the introduction of Planet Youth in Iceland in 1998, youth alcohol and other drug use rates have transformed from some of the highest in Europe, to among the lowest. The Planet Youth Model has now been implemented in hundreds of communities in more than 30 countries around the world.

“The recent workshop in the Blue Mountains was held to help create the local agenda for the program and the beginnings of a local action plan,” Mayor Greenhill said. “This work will be ongoing.”

According to Dr Lalor, addressing obstacles and instilling new behaviours among young people and their adult influencers, typically requires a coordinated, ongoing approach. “What is important is continuing to track trends and to use those trends to guide community action, which is exactly what the Blue Mountains Local Drug Action Team is doing,” Dr Lalor added.

The next step for the Planet Youth Blue Mountains community network will now be to share the findings of the research more broadly and support community action that will strengthen the protective factors that exist for our young people.

Planet Youth is a community-led project supported by Blue Mountains City Council, MYST (Mountains Youth Services Team) and a host of other community services organisations, local schools and community members.

To find about more about the 2022 survey findings, go to the Survey Findings page on this site.

Photo: Mayor Mark Greenhill with Planet Youth CEO Dr Páll Ríkharðsson and Head of Evidence and Innovation ADF Craig Martin at the Planet Youth Blue Mountains community workshop.
Photo:  Winmalee High School Year 10 students Bella Higginbotham, Hayley Scanlon, Georgia Campbell, Emma McHardy and Simone Bustamante-Lopez at the Planet Youth Blue Mountains community workshop.

For more info or other enquiries, email Nikki: nboys@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Luke S Kennedy speaks at Blue Mountains schools.

Luke S. Kennedy is one of Australia’s most sought after speakers. He uses his breathtaking life story to inspire resilience, motivation, and self-awareness for a wide range of audiences from primary schools to high schools, from corporate events to prisons.

Planet Youth Blue Mountaisn will be hosting Luke as he speaks with students at some of our Blue Mountains school in June. By sharing gripping stories from his own life, Luke makes a unique connection with students. His talks with young people are all about resilience​, mental health self-care, motivation & inspiration, reducing fear, anxiety, and stress, how to be yourself & stop worrying what people think, bullying, self-bullying & impact of negative self talk.

After speaking with students during the day, an evening session with parents is incredibly valuable. At Luke’s parent talks there are always tears, laughs, and plenty of ah-ha moments. Parents leave inspired and with simple strategies to help improve their connection with their kids and their own mental health. 

Blue Mountains Parents & Carers are invited to attend Luke’s talks at…

KATOOMBA HIGH SCHOOL – Tuesday 7 June from 6.00pm-7.30pm
WINAMLEE HIGH SCHOOL – Thursday 9 June from 6.00pm-7.30pm

To ensure we have enough space and seats, please RSVP here >


For more info or other enquiries, email Nikki: nboys@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Free Playback Improv Theatre Workshops!

Are you interested in drama or performance, or do you just enjoy being creative or trying new things?

Why not have a go at improv theatre?!

Planet Youth Blue Mountains are putting on some free Improv Theatre workshops for young people in both Katoomba and Springwood in June.

Playback Theatre is a highly entertaining form of improvisational theatre that uses the magic of telling and listening to everyday stories from real life. These fun and unique workshops are for anyone with an interest in drama or performance, as well as anyone who likes to just be creative or try new things! No experience necessary.

Cymbeline and Sarah are talented and experienced facilitators who will introduce you to some of the main techniques used in Playback Theatre including drama, voice and movement techniques, narrative structure, dramatic tension, theatre craft, the use of music and more. And if you play an instrument, please bring it along!

Workshops are for young people aged 12-17 and are free. No experience needed. Just come along and have fun. There’ll be food & drinks too. Places are limited. Book now!


Hosted by writer & director Cymbeline Buhler with actor Sarah Dillane.
1.00-4.00pm Saturday 18 June – Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba
1.00-4.00pm Saturday 25 June – Blue Mountains Theatre, Springwood

BOOK YOUR SPOT AT planetyouthbm.eventbrite.com.au


For more info or other enquiries, email Nikki: nboys@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Free Comedy Workshops with Marty Bright!

Have you ever secretly wanted to try stand-up comedy? Well, here’s your chance!

Planet Youth are putting on some free Comedy workshops for young people aged 12-17 in the Blue Mountains in June. These workshops will be heaps of fun and you don’t need any experience. Just come along and have some fun.

These fun, interactive sessions are great for anyone who has ever thought they’d like to try stand-up comedy and for those who just like try new things and have a good time.

Marty Bright has over a decade of experience as an internationally touring comedian and creative workshop facilitator. As your comedy mentor, Marty will introduce you to the foundational aspects of stand-up comedy including writing jokes, delivery, microphone technique, stage craft, performance techniques and more.

Workshops are for young people aged 12-17 and are free. No experience needed. Just come along and have fun. There’ll be food & drinks too. Places are limited. Book now!


Hosted by professional comedian Marty Bright

4.00-7.00pm Tuesday 14 June – Blue Mountains Theatre, Springwood

1.00-4.00pm Saturday 25 June – Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Katoomba

BOOK YOUR SPOT AT planetyouthbm.eventbrite.com.au


For more info or other enquiries, email Nikki: nboys@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Youth Week Festival 2022

Get amongst the action at this free community event to celebrate Youth Week 2022!

Sunday 10 April 10am – 4pm Glenbrook Skate Park

Get your crowd together and get amongst the action at Youth Week Festival 2022 featuring live bands TRASH BABY, FLORAH, THE JERBUS TRIO and ANDIE/DEE. There’ll also be skateboard, scooter and bike comps, a free BBQ, coffee van, art & drumming workshops and heaps more.

The Competition is open to amateur riders aged 12-24. Be there at 10am-11am to register. There are heaps of prizes to be won. Helmets are required.

Big thanks to KINGPIN, GLOBE, BLACKMAN BICYCLES, FAST TIMES, SCOOTER HUT And SYDNEY PROPERTY MARKET for donating prizes for the comp this year!

This is a free community event and a drug & alcohol free zone. Keep an eye on the Planet Youth BM Facebook page for more info and wet weather updates.

For enquiries call MYST on 1300 006 978.

The Youth Week Festival 2022 has been made possible by MYST, Planet Youth Blue Mountains, Headspace Katoomba, Platform Youth Services, Blue Mountains Women’s Health & Resource Centre, Springwood Neighbourhood Centre, Able 2, Outdoors NSW & ACT, Sydney Property Market, Rotary, Resilience NSW and Blue Mountains City Council.

PYBM News November 2021

Would you like us to do a Planet Youth Info Session for your school or group?

Planet Youth Blue Mountains is an international community-based project that aims to improve the wellbeing of young people, strengthen their social environment and protect them from alcohol and drug use.
Planet Youth conducts regular in-depth research with young people to understand their attitudes, behaviours and social environment so there is a wealth of insight and information to share that can help parents and schools support young people to live their best lives.

If you would like us to organise a session to share this information and start a conversation in your community, online or face-to-face, we’d love to hear from you!

Did you know, teenagers actually do listen to their parents?!

The Planet Youth survey of nearly 400 Blue Mountains Year 10 students revealed that what parents say about drunkenness and cannabis use has a direct impact on their teenager’s substance use. Students who believed their parents wouldn’t care if they were drunk, were twice as likely to have been drunk in the past month. And those who thought their parents wouldn’t care if they used cannabis were three times more likely to be cannabis users. There is a lot parents can do to protect young people from substance use. Find out more http://www.planetyouthbm.net.au

Planet Youth Poster Competition Winners Announced! 

Thank you to everyone who entered the PYBM design competition! We received wonderful entries from
talented young people across the Mountains and one from overseas to remind us of the global impact
of Planet Youth! Congratulations to our three winners: Stephanie from Mountains Christian College, Thomas from St Columbus and Hayley from Blaxland High; and our Highly Commended recipients: Tamsyn and Callie from Winmalee High. We look forward to sharing your creativity as part of Planet Youth BM.

Join the PYBM Parents & Carers Facebook Group…

If you would like to learn more about Planet Youth and connect with other Blue Mountains parents and carers about how to support your pre-teen or teenager’s wellbeing, please join the Planet Youth BM Parents & Carers private Facebook group. You can also find out more about Planet Youth at http://www.planetyouthbm.net.au and follow Planet Youth BM on Facebook @PlanetYouthBM and Insta @planet.youth.bm or get in touch with us to organise an info session for your school or community group.

What’s On

◐ Parent & Community Info Sessions available

◐ Parent Information booklets & PYBM speakers available for School Info Sessions

◐ Planet Youth Blue Mountains Student Survey # 2

Call for Young Designers

Create a Planet Youth poster & get paid for it! 

Planet Youth Blue Mountains would like to use three exciting posters designed by young people for a new campaign. Planet Youth is all about helping young people live their best lives and that’s what we’d like our posters to show. So who better to design them than you!

The theme for the poster design is: “Living our best lives.” 

Your poster design should capture whatever this means to you. Designs must also feature the words “Planet Youth” but these words can be a minor element of the design if you like.

Three designs will be selected for the campaign and designers will receive $100 for their work. 
  1. Read the brief above and the fine print below, then design your poster
  2. Take a good quality photo and/or save your design as a high res jpg
  3. Complete the entry form online at http://www.planetyouthbm.net.au/posters
  4. Submit your entry by 11:59pm Monday 4 October 2021

Entry is open to all young people of high school age up to 25yrs in the Blue Mountains. Posters must be A3 size and can be created with any media including digital art. All elements must be original; no element can be subject to someone else’s copyright. Designs must not feature any inappropriate or offensive content. Any people featured must give written permission for their image to be used by Planet Youth BM..

PYBM News August 2021

What is Planet Youth?

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 grow up in.

Planet Youth works by focusing on the things that help protect young people from substance use. It is about understanding their attitudes and behaviours, and then it’s about supporting parents, carers and communities to work together to find positive ways to reduce risk of substance use by strengthening ‘protective factors’.

Planet Youth began in the 90s in Iceland as a local initiative. Over the next 20 years, Iceland changed the game. They 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. The Blue Mountains is one of five pilot sites for the program in Australia.

Did you know?

The Planet Youth research highlighted a concerning level of substance use amongst Year 10 students in the Blue Mountains. But it also revealed that there are a number of things we can do right now that have been proven to reduce substance use amongst young people. Find out more about the survey findings at http://www.planetyouthbm.net.au  

Planet Youth activity is ramping up in the Mountains.

The local Planet Youth project is now established and about to ramp up. The Blue Mountains City Council has appointed a dedicated Planet Youth Project Officer and a number of community organisations are actively working on the program. The focus now is to tell more people about the program and support parents, carers, schools and the broader community to start working together to strengthen the key protective factors that prevent substance use and make a positive difference to the lives of our young people.

A dedicated local website and social media pages have now been launched so people can learn more and connect with the project. The second survey will be run in local high schools later this year to help us understand more about our young people and what we can do to help them avoid substance use so they can live a full life.

How can people get involved?

The power of the Planet Youth approach is in the community. It is all about people learning, connecting and taking action together. As a first step, people can learn more by going to the Planet Youth Blue Mountains website and follow the Instagram and Facebook pages. There will be information sessions and community conversations held online and face-to-face (when possible), and we hope to see local groups forming that people can join. But the most important thing people can do now is just start a conversation.

What’s On


◐ PYBM Website Launched

◐ PYBM Social Media Launched

◐ Poster Competition Open

◐ Confirmation of Survey #2


◐ School-Parent Info Sessions

◐ Community Info Sessions

◐ Poster Winners Announced

◐ Year 10 Student Survey # 2