Back to Our Heroes You are reading: Our Record-Breaking Goal for 2024
13th February 2024 | Read Time: 4 minutes

Our Record-Breaking Goal for 2024

Looking ahead into 2024, we are setting ourselves our highest target yet of impacting 50,000 young people with lifesaving mental health education this year, as we prepare to extend our programs further across WA.

As the number of young people with complex mental health challenges surges and a growing number of younger teens seek support, we aim to begin educating children 10 and younger, by focusing on expanding our primary school programs, as well as adding a youth camp to our flagship Camp Hero program offerings.

Our CEO Ashlee Harrison shared that zero2hero has big plans for 2024 after a successful year last year, in which we impacted a record 32,507 young people from 246 schools in WA through mental health education and suicide prevention programs.

Key highlights from 2023 include the introduction of our first cape2cape CEO Trek which raised $280,000, expansion in the delivery of our regional programs in remote WA, the recruitment of some key personnel, a restructure of our organisational chart and Board, and welcoming some exciting and unique new partners and supporters.

“Last year we worked with more young people than ever before,” Ms Harrison said. “One of our priority areas was better, rather than bigger, which saw us prioritise working with each young person more extensively than we have in the past.

“There was also a big focus on our regional program delivery, which saw us work frequently in places like Onslow and Karratha, providing much needed support for young people in regional WA.

“This year, we have set a big goal to work with 50,000 young people, a 55% increase from last year. Included in this, will be a greater emphasis and focus on our primary school programs and developing new programs that will impact children younger than Year 5.

We will also re-introduce our Camp Hero YOUTH program, making our intensive mental health and leadership camp program available to young people aged 13 to 15, rather than just 15 to 18 year olds.

“We have had a lot of demand for our Camp Hero program for the younger age bracket. This is not surprising given the prevalence of mental health issues among children younger and younger.” Ms Harrison said.

“More young people are struggling today than ever before, and the average age is getting younger while the severity of their struggles is increasing exponentially. We know that half of  mental health issues emerge before the age of 15. Therefore, to continue our focus on prevention, our programs need to target younger cohorts.

“Our programs aim to arm young people with the tools they need to look after their mental health and wellbeing before the point of crisis, in turn reducing the burden on our mental health system and emergency departments.”

This year, new Telethon funding will allow us to expand into the Kimberley region, building on our already strong footprint in the Pilbara, Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Gascoyne and Goldfields.

We also hope to build on the significant uplift in third party fundraisers, where individuals and corporates undertake fundraising ventures for us, raising more than $250,000 in 2023.

“One of the biggest shifts for us in 2023 was those fundraising for us,” she said.

“What last year highlighted was it doesn’t matter how big, or how daring, or how unique a goal is, anything can be achieved, and some really big funds can be raised to help improve the mental health of our kids.

“We had some big and unique events like Rob Barton rowing from Western Australia to Africa, and The Big Dig which saw teams spend 24 hours digging a hole, raising $93,000. These were really incredible challenges that helped us tremendously in our really important work to have our biggest year yet.”