Students from Mullumbimby High School will today visit the Byron Bay Hospital emergency department as part of a program, aptly titled PARTY, aimed at reducing risky behaviours that all-too often result in injury or worse.
The 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.
Local police, fire and rescue personnel, and paramedics are also involved in the program that allows the students to follow the journey of a trauma patient.
PARTY coordinator Maura Desmond said local staff will lead the hospital visits together with trauma staff from Sydney’s 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 Byron 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’. PARTY 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.
‘Our goal is to reduce the over representation of young adults in injury and trauma statistics,’ Ms Desmond said.