University of Southern Queensland students slept on the streets recently all in the name of supporting vulnerable homeless children and young people.
Sleeping rough, and associated mental and physical health problems associated wit hit is a sad reality for more than 100,000 homeless people across Australia.
The Queensland Times reported Jacob Ducat, Jessica Harrison and other Headspace Youth Reference Group (HYRG) members experienced what it felt like to have no home for a night as part of the Ipswich Community Youth Service Youth Homelessness Matters Sleep-out Challenge.
“Headspace Ipswich has been doing the sleep-out challenge for a number of years and those who are able to participate have always found it to be an unforgettable experience,” Jacob said.
“We want to share with our peers the challenges people who experience homelessness face every night, and make others realise what they can do to help.”
The psychology students joined HYRG this year to develop valuable skills such as leadership, teamwork, social engagement and communication, while becoming more active members of their community.
Headspace Ipswich is an organisation dedicated to providing early intervention mental health services to people aged 12 to 25.
Jessica said as a psychology student, she was aware the consequences of homelessness don’t lie solely in the realm of practical issues and physical health problems.
“The social and mental health effects of homelessness can be very detrimental to an individual’s wellbeing, such that the mere act of providing secure accommodation and meeting basic needs is simply not enough to improve someone’s life,” she said.
“That’s why I want to become an advocate for reducing homelessness, but also improving the mental health of those who are, or who have been, homeless.”