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In response to new measures announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday, 29 March, our public playgrounds, skate parks, BBQs and exercise equipment are now closed to the public. Read more.

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Real Girls is a City of Melville campaign designed to encourage teen girls to improve their mental health and wellbeing by reducing screen time, connecting with their friends in real life and being more physically active.

Real Girls

Real Girls can sometimes use a bit of help!  Adolescence can be a challenging time. There is often a feeling of pressure from many different angles; peer, academic, parental and the pressures that technology brings, particularly with social media platforms.

Social media is great for socialising and finding out what’s happening in the world, but it also has its down sides. Spending too much time online can mean a disconnect with the real world and increase vulnerability to bullying, loss of privacy, online scams and reduced self-esteem for some teens.

A UK study found that the use of social media is responsible for rising rates of mental health issues in certain circumstances. In girls frequent social media use seemed to harm health when it led to cyber bullying and/or inadequate sleep and exercise.

Key messages to counter the negative effects are:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Don’t lose contact with friends in real life
  • Physical activity is important for health and wellbeing

Some teens are better equipped to deal with these stresses than others and it’s important to have positive peer support and adult role models around this age to help navigate the journey.

Getting Active

Working out isn’t something that everyone enjoys and when you’re super busy it’s probably the last thing you want to be doing. But what you probably don’t realise is that it has some massive health benefits.

  • It can help prevent or manage depression – exercise releases endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that trigger a positive feeling in your body and has shown that working out can even be used as an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.
  • A stress reliever – those endorphins also have stress busting benefits. Exercise can improve your mood and help you remain calm when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Give it a go when you’re feeling under the pump, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel afterwards!
  • It can add years to your life – even just 30 minutes of brisk exercise walking a day can delay ageing.
  • It’s great for your heart – Being active for 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week is great for heart health and 40 minutes of vigorous (jogging, fast cycling or basketball) helps lower your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • It can help maintain a healthy weight – If you’re trying to lose weight, just exercising probably won’t do much, but add a healthy diet and you’re more likely to achieve and sustain a gradual weight loss.
  • It can reduce risks of certain cancers - evidence tells us that ‘exercisers’ are less likely to develop cancers of the colon and breast than inactive people. 
  • It makes your bones stronger – as we get older our bone mass decreases which can lead to fractures. Experts tell is that muscle strengthening and weight bearing exercises (like walking) can improve bone density.
  • How much and what sort of exercise? 60 minutes of activity a day is recommended. Being physically active doesn’t mean you have to do competitive sport or go to the gym – anything active is good for you. Ideally the exercise should be moderate to vigorous intensity.
  • Tips to get started - Find something that’s fun. Look for something that you enjoy and you could do with friends as an activity. Some ideas are bike riding, walking, dance class, tennis or badminton.

LeisureFit Centres - Our Melville and Booragoon LeisureFit centres offer a variety of programs and activities for teens Find our more or call 9364 0800.

Looking after your Mental Health

Around one in four young Australians (aged 16 to 24) will experience a mental health condition each year. For information about mental health conditions and concerns, have a look at the following helpful websites:               

https://au.reachout.com Practical support tools and tips to help young people get through a variety of tough times

https://headspace.org.au information and support (online, phone and centre locations)

https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au not specifically youth focussed, free online resources to help people overcome mental health issues

https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au  Support for eating disorders and body issues

Healthy eating is super important for young people as body changes during this time affect nutritional and dietary needs. Many young people experience a growth spurt and an increase in appetite to healthy foods are important to meet growth needs.

https://livelighter.com.au/ Meal plans, nutrition info, recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle

Drug and Alcohol information

There is no single reason why young people use drugs or alcohol but perhaps the most avoidable cause of substance use is inaccurate information about drugs and alcohol. The most important thing you can do is find out as much information as possible so that you get accurate information about the different types of drugs and the potential risks associate with drug use. Having the right information will help you make informed safer choices.

https://adf.org.au  Drug information, help and support services

Gender and Sexuality

Gender and sexuality can be complex issues for young people. People identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual and other sexualities, sexes and genders (LGBTQIA+) often face discrimination, bullying or violence often resulting in higher incidents of mental health issues. Knowing where and when to seek further information support to be yourself is important.

https://schools.au.reachout.com/articles/gender-and-sexuality

https://headspace.org.au/young-people/overview-of-sexual-orientations

Sexual Health

Taking good care of yourself also means taking good care of your sexual and reproductive health. Your body is changing and understanding what happening to you and getting to know your body helps you stay healthy.

https://www.getthefacts.health.wa.gov.au Information on sexual heath, puberty, relationships and blood borne viruses.

Sleep is amazing

Teens need 8 to10 hours sleep a night, yet many only get about 6.5 to 7.5 hours a night. Sleep deprivation can impact on wellbeing, increasing risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. It can also affect academic performance at school.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/teenagers-and-sleep

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/teens-and-sleep

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