The P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) Program is an internationally recognised program that brings teenagers into the hospital to show them the graphic effects of risk-related behaviour.
Students from Casino and Kyogle High Schools visited the Casino Emergency Department on Tuesday 27 October and other clinical areas of their local hospital as part of the program as they follow the journey of a trauma patient. Local police, fire and rescue personnel, and paramedics are also involved in the program.
Students from Mullumbimby and Byron High Schools visited Byron Bay Emergency Department and students from Southern Cross High School visited Lismore Base Hospital Emergency Department.
P.A.R.T.Y. Coordinator Maura Desmond said local staff will lead the hospital visits in collaboration with trauma staff from Royal North Shore Hospital. She hopes that by exposing participating students to the traumatic consequences of risk-related behaviour, they will be able to recognize and mitigate risk.
“The students are shown in the hospital, not the classroom, what can happen to them if they engage in all manner of risky behaviour including the use of alcohol and drugs. Each program is adapted to the needs of the regional area where the program is being delivered. For example a big focus in Casino will be the use of ICE as this has now become an epidemic in this region” Ms Desmond said.
During the program, students will spend time with staff who deal daily with the impact of trauma on young lives. “We hope that by seeing the effects of trauma in the hospital environment they will make more positive choices”.
A key part of the program involves students taking part in ‘reduced function activities’. P.A.R.T.Y. staff bandage arms, provide neck braces and eye bandages so that students get a true understanding of what it is like to live with an injury or disability brought on by risky behaviour.
The P.A.R.T.Y Program has been conducted by the RNSH Trauma Hospital for the past 18 months and has targeted over 1200 youth from schools/education programs throughout NSW. It’s the first of its kind in NSW and has proven to be a great success so far with the program becoming finalists in two categories at the ‘Australian Road Safety Awards’ 2014.
“Our goal is to reduce the over representation of young adults in injury and trauma statistics,” Ms Desmond said.
“Young people are particularly vulnerable to risk taking behaviors. International studies have shown that exposing these students to the consequences of risky behavior resulted in a decline in risk related injuries”.
Northern NSW Local Health District is very pleased to be involved with the P.A.R.T.Y program and to have the opportunity to assist local young people to become better informed about risky behaviours, potential consequences and prevention choices to minimise risk.