A Gold Coast Health program exposing young people to the harsh realities of risky behaviour has received a tick of approval from students and adults alike.
Despite the confronting message in the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) Program, there has been overwhelming positive feedback and support.
In its second year at Gold Coast University Hospital, PARTY has become so popular that there are waiting lists for Gold Coast secondary schools wanting to participate.
More than 600 students have been exposed to the tragic results of risky behaviour through PARTY in 2015 and 2016.
A total of 98 per cent of participants in the one-day interactive presentation said they would recommend the program to others, according to a first-year evaluation report.
Gold Coast Health PARTY coordinator Matt Scott said the program aimed to influence a change in young people’s risk-taking behaviour, and thus reduce the incidence of death, disability and injuries.
“Part of the interactive presentation is based around a confronting fictional incident when a young teenage male involved in a high speed car accident is rushed to the hospital by emergency crews with massive injuries,” Mr Scott said.
“Students perform resuscitation on a medical mannequin, and have to decide when to stop before breaking the news to a senior staff member playing the role of the victim’s mother. They watch the mannequin being placed in a body bag.”
The students meet medical, nursing and allied health staff dealing with day to day trauma, patients whose lives have been shattered and listen to relatives who have lost children and siblings.
“We highlight the fatal five causes of accidents including distracted driving and the use of mobiles and texting; driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, driving at speed, without a seatbelt and when fatigued.
How do students generally react to the program?
“In varying ways, but usually there are tears,” he said.
“Students find the program very confronting but always leave feeling they’ll make positive changes to their risk taking behaviour in the future.”
On Wednesday, 9 November Livingstone Christian College became the 14th Gold Coast secondary school to participate in PARTY in 2016.
Funding from the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the RACQ is used to run the program at seven sites in Queensland.