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Tasmanian student wins $10,000 for youth mental health initiative

21-YEAR-OLD medical student Olivia Fleming has brought home the top prize for youth mental health at the 2017 Young Social Pioneers (YSP) program.

She recently competed against 60 of her young entrepreneur peers to secure $10,000 in seed money to invest in her social enterprise – The Little HELP Project (LHP).

Ms Fleming said she was “extremely humbled” to have won the prize.

“I learnt a lot from the program and have been welcomed into a national community of change-makers who are very inspiring,” she said.

“We currently do not spend money on administration costs and our money is put towards resources, programs and the ‘work’ of running and designing programs.

“Our goals are to expand and evaluate our programs. To do this we are looking to reach more schools, run more programs and give as many young people as we can ‘a little help’.”

LHP was founded in 2014 and to empower young people to reach their full potential through workshops and out-reach programs.

The team provides a preventative and skills-based approach to the rising mental health concerns facing young adults.

The external pressures and responsibilities involved with growing up is what inspired Ms Fleming to create LHP.

“In high school there were many times where my friends were struggling and I didn’t know how best to support them,” she said.

“I want to change that.

“The Little HELP Project is not just about reducing the rates of suicidality and mental health – it is about building the positive protective factors that bring people together and provide support.”

YSP is operated by the Foundation for Young Australians.

It is Australia’s only national youth entrepreneurship program designed for young people leading initiatives that respond to society’s most pressing challenges.

The 2017 YSP cohort was selected from more than 400 applicants from across Australia.

Caption: Olivia Fleming (front left) with medical peers participating in the Teddy Bear Hospital.