Jasper is a proud Darkinjung/Ngarigo man currently living on the Gadigal lands of the Eora Nation in Newtown, Sydney. He is also an Associate Lecturer at The University of Sydney in the Sydney School of Public Health Jasper lectures in the Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health Promotion and Master of Public Health and Master of Global Health degrees. His research focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people’s social and emotional wellbeing, to include lived experiences and grass roots perspectives as evidence that informs meaningful and relevant reforms for our young peoples.
Jasper was also a finalist in the NSW Young Achiever Awards in 2021.
During the online event, Jasper delivered an Acknowledgment of Caring for Community, Country and Culture, also sharing some thoughts about the challenges and opportunities for young people during the pandemic.
“It’s been such a tough year for everybody due to COVID-19 and I think it has really impacted our young people as well. I hope we can continue in our own ways to take care of our own wellbeing but also the wellbeing of those around us.”
Despite the challenges of 2021, Jasper says there was also some positive spaces opening up in the area of youth wellbeing and mental health.
“Part of my role at the University of Sydney is doing research with younger people in NSW around mental health reforms and 2021 did offer us a few insights that are important to take forward into 2022.
“It’s been great reading the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. I think that’s probably our most advanced policy from the national level that really does show a good commitment and better understanding of the holistic needs of all young people across Australia in terms of how we can support their wellbeing.”
Jasper also highlighted the growing adoption of telehealth measures during the pandemic as a positive for young people, particularly for those who experience barriers to traditional face-to face health support.
“I think telehealth and telemedicine has been fantastic in terms of normalising this process and really extending the availability and accessibility of [health and wellbeing support] for many more of us living across Australia.
“COVID has taught us that we really need to understand and prioritise our health and wellbeing and check in on others. This is especially so for young people, whether they are in school, heading out of school or in the primary years.
“It’s been really important and great to see the collective recognition of the need to understand what young people need.”
We’d like to thank Jasper and the Youth Advisory Group for their insights and contribution.