Young people in Wyndham are learning how to keep themselves safe in intimate relationships, with expert advice from a local medical centre.
So far this year, Nurse Samantha Read from Hampstead Drive Medical Centre has given health education sessions to more than 600 local students and young people. The sessions cover sexual health, mental health and general health topics. They aim to help young people feel comfortable about seeking health care advice from a medical practice if they need further assistance.
Ms Read says the results show the sessions are successfully engaging participants, particularly young people who have felt isolated from the health care system.
“Teenagers want to know how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Our sessions provide a safe environment for them to ask questions.
“We also tell them where they can get help later, like the youth clinic run from Hampstead Drive Medical Centre in Hoppers Crossing, and we’ve seen them there in increasing numbers.”
As well as the student sessions, Ms Read has delivered ‘bumps and babes’ sessions for young mums under 25. She has also run sessions for young people from refugee or asylum seeker communities, young people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and young people who identify as LGBTIQ. The sessions are presented alongside the health professionals, youth workers and social workers who regularly work with these groups.
“We know Wyndham has higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted teenage pregnancy than the Victorian average,” Ms Read said. “So we’re very keen to help young people look after their sexual health.”
Ms Read’s health education sessions were funded by the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) as part of a program that is helping general practices improve their services to local communities.
NWMPHN CEO A/Prof Chris Carter said Hampstead Drive Medical Centre is one of 13 general practices that received a General Practice Quality Improvement Grant to deliver innovative health programs in their local communities.
“This grant is an investment in the future health of the community, helping young people and vulnerable groups in one of Melbourne’s most important growth areas,” A/Prof Carter said.
If your group would like to know more about the health education sessions, you can contact Samantha Read, Specialist Sexual Health Nurse at Hampstead Drive Medical Centre, 2 Hampstead Drive, Hoppers Crossing by phone (03) 9748 8266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.