Life-altering lessons for students

XAVIER College students have been given a hands-on lesson at a local emergency department in a bid to stamp out risky and potentially life-altering decisions that affect young people.
Around 30 year 11 students visited Lyell McEwin Hospital last Wednesday to take part in the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program.
The PARTY program seeks to educate young high school students about how their decisions can lead to trauma-related injuries.
Students were given the opportunity to walk through the Lyell McEwin’s intensive care unit, emergency department, and allied health areas to give them a firsthand idea of what can happen if they make poor, or risky, decisions.
Issues such as not wearing a seat-belt while driving, drink-driving, taking drugs and other risky behaviour were discussed, at length, throughout the PARTY program.
Year 11 student Haralambos Varelias said physically being at the hospital, rather than just being told information at school, gave the message more meaning and helped him understand it more clearly.
“It’s really in your face, it’s not like at school where they ease us into it,” he said.
“They showed us some graphic images and it really imprinted the image that drinking and driving, speeding or doing drugs can lead to this.
“I feel that seeing this makes me want to help others who do make those decisions, even if I don’t like them or get along with them.
“It really helps me to get involved and stop them from making those decisions.”
Haralambos said hearing real stories about risky behaviour completely changed his mindset.
“We saw pictures of people who did take risks,” he said.
“For example, one lady had a car accident and wasn’t wearing a seat-belt, so we saw what happened to her car and what happened to her after she arrived (at the emergency department),” he said.
Trauma is responsible for 40 per cent of deaths across Australia in the 15-25-year-old age bracket.
Lyell McEwin Hospital trauma co-ordinator Nicole Kelly said seeing both the physiological and psychological effects trauma has can help students make “more informed” choices.
“Risky decisions can affect the lives of young people forever,” she said.
“This program aims to help students better understand the potential consequences of injury, or even death, to help them make better, more informed choices,” she said.

Tom Staggard


Born and raised in Adelaide's northern suburbs, Tom attended Tyndale Christian School in Salisbury East before studying journalism at the University of South Australia. Tom joined The Bunyip in June 2017 after previously working in the Adelaide Hills for The Courier newspaper in Mount Barker and the Weekender Herald in Crafers. As part of his role, Tom will cover the Adelaide Plains and Playford council regions. Away from work, he is a massive sports fan and loves all things football, cricket, basketball and soccer.

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