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Geelong youth set to face the consequences of risky behaviour

Tuesday, 06 March 2018

Increasing awareness of the impact of traumatic injury and teaching students about the consequences of risky behaviours is the focus of a program being spearheaded by The Alfred in Geelong this week.

Students from 16 schools are taking part in The Alfred’s Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) program.

Trauma experts from The Alfred, Barwon Health, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police will deliver confronting and important messages to Year 11 students from across the Geelong region, and a young survivor will also share their story during the three-day P.A.R.T.Y. Outreach.

Trauma is responsible for two-thirds of deaths in the 15 to 25-year-old age group, with many young survivors sustaining permanent disabilities.

P.A.R.T.Y. Outreach will replicate a hospital setting within the Geelong Conference Centre in order to accommodate an estimated 400 students.

Acting Director of Trauma Services at The Alfred, Dr Joseph Mathew, said by delivering injury awareness messages based on their real life experiences it’s hoped the students will think twice about participating in risk taking behaviours.

“The consequences of taking risks can be life-long, for the victims and families,” Dr Mathew said.

Barwon Health Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager Kathryn Ackland said if just one teenager makes a different decision around alcohol and their safety as a result of attending, the program has shown its value.

“Barwon Health is proud to be involved in the program for the first time and we hope our involvement helps students learn about consequences of traumatic injury and consider this well into the future,” Ms Ackland said.

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Pictured (L-R): Barwon Health ED educator Carley Harper with St Joseph's College students Michael, Mitchell and Leroy.

Background on the P.A.R.T.Y. program
The P.A.R.T.Y. program is a dynamic and interactive injury awareness and prevention program that uses vivid clinical reality to show participants the consequences that can occur when engaging in risk-taking behaviour. Developed by a nurse in Canada 30 years ago, the program has historically been delivered in the hospital environment, following the journey of a trauma patient. The Outreach program has since evolved in order to reach a greater number of youth. Performing Art Centres in regional areas are transformed into makeshift hospitals to replicate the working hospital environment.

The in-hospital P.A.R.T.Y. program has been running at The Alfred since 2009 and the Outreach program since 2012. The program is supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and AAMI.

P.A.R.T.Y. at The Alfred is excited about the interest that the program has drawn from both the health services and school communities within the great Geelong region.