The current assignment will focus upon role of the youth workers and identification of the term youth. The current study will also focus on the factor that youth work has changed over years. The change in delivery of services to the youth has been observed with the help of modern technology and ease of communication between the young people and the adults in the society. Additionally, the current study will try to understand the change in youth culture taken place historically. Different roles and methods of the youth workers and the services currently available for them will be discussed.
Youth work can be defined as working with young people that has been thought up and practised by human beings (Bernard Davies, 2010). The term youth worker can be difficult to define as this consists of different meaning. As mentioned by Ord (2016), youth work can be considered as working along with a group of people in a centre for youth. It is required to understand the re-emergence and reinvention of the youth workers with the changing needs. However, de St Croix (2018) defined youth workers as the collection of opportunities for informal education, and creative usage of the time of leisure by being member of a group.
The chosen community here is the indigenous young people of Australia. As mentioned by Degenhardt et al. (2016), both the illicit and licit use of drugs are common among the Australian indigenous youth. However, the researchers have mostly focused on the risky drinking along with the use of heroine, amphetamine, sniffing, inhalants and solvents. A recent report has suggested that more than half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are currently engaged in smoking as compared to the other Australian people (Cuthbert et al., 2019). Some evidences also present conflicting ideas about the high risk drinking levels. Use of illicit substance abuse is more prevalent among the indigenous Australian than the others.
In spite of several attempts upon preventing the drug abuse, prevention there is an increase in the drug abuse among the indigenous people has been observed with emergence of new drugs and drug related problems. It has been observed that among the people born between 1940 and 1994; only 3% started using cannabis at the age of 21 whereas 59% of the indigenous people born in between 1975 and 1979 have been engaged with cannabis abuse at the age of 21. A significant connection is found between suicide rates and using cannabis. The rate of suicide has increased from 6% to 16% among 100,000 people born between 1996 and 98 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020).this has a shared aetiology among the behaviours associated with drug abuse and other mental health problems.
Factors that contribute to the drug abuse include both the individual and environmental factors. Several attempts have been taken by the governmental and non-governmental social bodies that focused on changing individual behaviour towards drug abuse. However, these could not be independently preventing the issue from emerging due to other factors. These might include the social and cultural determinants of drug abuse. With the rapid change in the western society, parents are likely to be working with longer hours of working. Changes in the family structure, extending the adolescence period are the factors working behind increased drug abuse. Apart from that, child care and education centres are unable to work sufficiently upon these factors (Bitsko et al., 2016).
Culture is referred to as beliefs, norms, meanings and values of a person that influence his behaviour and thought all over. There are some specified and non-specified cultural influences that work behind the drug abuse. Drug specific culture may influence individuals through the norms of patterns of using drugs that are acceptable in nature. However, the non-specified culture is the inclusion of the aspects of western culture influencing general attitudes and norms. Therefore, the non-specified culture includes individualism, secularism and neo-liberalism (Lorié et al., 2017). The social values regarding individualism may generate a feeling of connectedness and alienation along with the reduction in social cohesion.
The drug us behaviours result from developmental and environmental factors mentioned earlier. There are different risk factors identified by the teachers and the parents include depression, oppositional defiant disorder and others in the schooling age. As mentioned by Anjum (2019), indigenous people associated with drug abuse are likely to show difficult temperament often with a violent gesture. This might lead the children to show delinquency and other related behaviours. Drug abuse may also create risks in regulation emotions and behaviour of a youth. This makes the actions uncontrollable due to which drug abuse may lead to results of high suicidal risk and violent actions. Apart from that, the chances of drink-driving and others, unsafe injecting practices are also considered as potential risk factors among indigenous youth of Australia. As there are policies and laws for allowing smoking in enclosed places, this might lead the youth to develop smoking related diseases.
It has been identified that media represents the indigenous youth as socio-economically disadvantaged and unequally treated Australians. As mentioned in Abc.net.au (2020), Australian indigenous youth are likely to face great behavioural and environmental risk factors which is the case in higher portion of the indigenous households. There is also a lack of proper accommodation due to which the risk of infection and drug abuse increases. This story also suggests that the poor health status of the indigenous youth is due to the poor education and literacy. It is due to the reason that people become unable to use the health information effectively that helps promoting health status of this youth group. The overcrowded accommodation leads to poverty which leads to emotional turmoil leading to drug use as it is easily available.
The story also covers that the indigenous people agrees that they have lower control over their lives which leads to stress and mental health issues that are responsible for substance abuse and violence.
The Department of Health, Australia has taken several service strategies through which these problems are being tried to be addressed. In the “National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy 2014–2019”, the attempts for reducing the harmful effects of alcohol and others drugs are aimed to be reduced upon the indigenous individuals, families and communities (Williamson et al., 2016). The program also aims at improving the overall health of the Australian indigenous youth. Most importantly, this provides guides to the government, community, service providers and individuals which help in collaboration for preventing drug abuse.
Another attempt taken by the Department of Health is “Australia is National Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Development Strategy 2015–2018”. This strategy aims at improving the skills of AOD workforce so that Alcohol and Other Drug related harmful effects can be reduced upon the indigenous Australian youth and community people. The workforce is also prepared for the future so that changing environment and increased use of drug can be handled effectively.
Another attempt is taken by the Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission is “Drug and Alcohol Youth Service (DAYS)”. It is located in East Perth making it more accessible to the needy youth group. There are different services offered through this service attempt such as “Counseling, case management and support, a three month residential rehabilitation program, Assessment and referral and others.
Youth Workers are highly important personalities in preventing the issue faced by the indigenous youth in Australia.
The approach that youth workers are required to take towards the affected youth is empathic. The youth worker will be sensitive to the issue these youths face, their perception about the suffering and others (Moore et al., 2018). The approach will be to allow the youth workers to help them find out the healthier way of emotional and behavioural regulations. The approach will also include empowerment through educating them about the adverse effects of drug abuse.
It is required for the youth workers to understand that youth they are working with are facing different life difficulties regarding their accommodation, education, family life and others. Therefore, the youth worker will need to show respect and regards to the youth (Malla et al., 2019). Good listening skills, ability to social relationships, creating learning opportunities and others are included in the skills of a youth worker.
The societal and cultural factors may create barrier in implementing the youth work. For instance, social and cultural values that are responsible for influencing the youth may become difficult to change or modify (Albright et al., 2017). The sense of social connectedness and inclusion of western culture are the main barriers behind including the youths into the governmental and non-governmental program.
Aim of engagement
The aim of engaging into the youth work program is to reduce the adverse effects of drugs upon the indigenous youth. Another aim is to promote the mental and physical health of the indigenous people. Additionally, increasing control over their own emotion and behaviour and making them capable of making healthy decision.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the youth indigenous community has been observed to have a significant social need which is the prevention of drug abuse. Several attempts have been made by the government and non-governmental bodies. However, the media representation has shown that the indigenous youth are unable to reach out to the preventive measures due to inequality of services.
Abc.net.au, (2020), Drugs not the biggest substance abuse danger for schoolkids, retrieved on: 10 September 2020 from: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-28/drugs-schools-and-the-dark-web/9488950
Albright, J. N., Hurd, N. M., & Hussain, S. B. (2017). Applying a social justice lens to youth mentoring: A review of the literature and recommendations for practice. American journal of community psychology, 59(3-4), 363-381.
Anjum, R. (2019). Delinquent Behaviors and Temperament of Prisoners in Context of Childhood Maltreatment (Doctoral dissertation, University of Gujrat, Gujrat.).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, (2020), Drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, retrieved on: 10 September 2020, from: aihw.gov.au/getmedia/a72e5e3b-8316-4242-bed5-e68ad46c6641/duaatsip.pdf.aspx?inline=true
Bitsko, R. H., Holbrook, J. R., Robinson, L. R., Kaminski, J. W., Ghandour, R., Smith, C., & Peacock, G. (2016). Health care, family, and community factors associated with mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders in early childhood—United States, 2011–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(9), 221-226.
Cuthbert, K. E., Brown, C., Hammond, M., Williams, T. A., Tayley, D., Deemal-Hall, E., & Thomas, D. P. (2019). Engaging with Aboriginal Shire Councils in remote Cape York communities to address smoke-free environments. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 25(5), 419-423.
de St Croix, T. (2018). Youth work, performativity and the new youth impact agenda: getting paid for numbers?. Journal of Education Policy, 33(3), 414-438.
Degenhardt, L., Stockings, E., Patton, G., Hall, W. D., & Lynskey, M. (2016). The increasing global health priority of substance use in young people. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(3), 251-264.
Lorié, Á., Reinero, D. A., Phillips, M., Zhang, L., & Riess, H. (2017). Culture and nonverbal expressions of empathy in clinical settings: A systematic review. Patient education and counseling, 100(3), 411-424.
Malla, A., Iyer, S., Shah, J., Joober, R., Boksa, P., Lal, S., ... & Beaton, A. (2019). Canadian response to need for transformation of youth mental health services: ACCESS Open Minds (Esprits ouverts). Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 13(3), 697-706.
Moore, T., McArthur, M., Death, J., Tilbury, C., & Roche, S. (2018). Sticking with us through it all: The importance of trustworthy relationships for children and young people in residential care. Children and Youth Services Review, 84, 68-75.
Ord, J. (2016). Youth Work Process, Product and Practice: Creating an authentic curriculum in work with young people. Routledge.
Williamson, A., D'Este, C., Clapham, K., Redman, S., Manton, T., Eades, S., ... & Raphael, B. (2016). What are the factors associated with good mental health among Aboriginal children in urban New South Wales, Australia? Phase I findings from the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH). BMJ open, 6(7), e011182.
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