Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM)

Building resilience in our young people

In Australia, 70% of mental illness and suicidal behaviours begin between the ages of 12-25 years.

Through the delivery of structured, evidence-based programs, schools provide an effective way of promoting mental health, resilience and help-seeking amongst young people.

The ACT Health Directorate is launching a mental health program for young Canberrans in 2020 that aims to build resilience and confidence in our young people.

The Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) program is an evidenced-based program developed   to promote mental health and address suicidal behaviour, and is renowned for its flexibility to be integrated into the school environment.

School programs

What is YAM?

YAM is a program aimed at addressing the mental health needs of young people, that involves discussion and role play. It aims to get young people involved and talking about mental health. By doing this, young people will learn problem solving skills and gain knowledge about mental health; build resilience; and promote early intervention and help seeking behaviours.

You can learn more about YAM here:

Who is YAM for?

YAM will be rolled out to Year 9 students in ACT schools.

How much does YAM cost?

YAM is free in the ACT.

What will students learn?

YAM facilitates discussion and guided role-play scenarios to help young people recognise and work through challenging ideas or subjects. It consists of five sessions covering six topics including:

  1. What is mental health?
  2. Self-help advice
  3. Stress and crisis
  4. Depression and suicidal thoughts
  5. Helping a friend in need
  6. Who can I ask for advice?

The role-play sessions cover three themes respectively:

1. Everyday choices and the outcomes of one’s actions;

2. Becoming aware of one’s feelings and how to manage stress and crisis situations; and

3. Listening to others and speaking about depression and suicidal thoughts.

How will YAM be delivered in schools?

YAM includes five sessions which are run over the three weeks. It is delivered in the classroom setting (up to 30 students) by accredited trainers external to the school.

The five sessions include three role-play sessions at the core, backed by one opening and one closing session that all rely heavily on the students’ participation (see program structure below).

Youth in Mental Health sessions

What resources do students receive?

Students will be issued with a booklet to keep. The booklet outlines course content and includes a list of support services within the ACT.

When will YAM be available for my school?

YAM is aimed to be delivered to ACT high schools during the 2020 school year, timing can be flexible to meet the needs of specific schools.

Who can I contact to discuss YAM?

Local schools will be approached about delivering YAM in 2020, however you are very welcome to express your interest in YAM now and beat the queue.

YAM is part of the Black Dog Institute's LifeSpan Framework being rolled out in the ACT.

For more information, please get in touch via

Page last updated on: 19 Nov 2020