Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) about hY NRG

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  1. What is the headspace Youth National Reference Group (hY NRG)?
  2. What sort of things would I be as involved in as a hY NRG member?
  3. How will I work with other hY NRG members?
  4. Am I eligible to be on hY NRG?
  5. Do I need to be part of a headspace centre to participate?!
  6. How much time do I need to be on hY NRG?
  7. What are the benefits of being on hY NRG?
  8. What does a hY NRG in-person meeting involve?
  9. What costs are involved?
  10. Will I receive any support while on hY NRG?
  11. What is the point of hY NRG?
  12. What’s a Youth Advisor?
  13. I have a question, but it’s not answered here!


What is the headspace Youth National Reference Group (hY NRG)?

hY NRG are a group of young people, passionate about youth mental health. headspace provides hY NRG members with training and support to build skills in public speaking, responding to media, and undertaking advocacy within headspace. hY NRG is made up of 24 young people (which includes four Youth Advisors) aged 16 to 25. They are appointed for an 18-month term.

hY NRG participate in projects that are going on at headspace National by providing advice, critical feedback, and to help guide the work that takes place at headspace. Over the last two years hY NRG have worked on over 100 projects including:

  • Helping shape our headspace Day campaigns and the headspace Forum
  • Sitting on the project team developing our Peer Support program and training
  • Contributing to document development including the headspace Strategy and most of our online clinical content
  • Attendance at meetings with the Productivity Commissioners to feed into the report on mental health
  • Attending the International Youth Mental Health Conference
  • Providing feedback on service changes to headspace centres, and our digital services


What sort of things would I be as involved in as a hY NRG member?  

There are many activities hY NRG members could be involved in. You don’t need to have previous experience to take part and will always receive training and support from the headspace team. The activities hY NRG members take part in generally fall into two categories:

  • Media and community engagement – hY NRG members are supported to become community advocates for youth mental health. As media spokespeople, hY NRG members provide comment to media outlets about youth mental health and their own individual story. There are also opportunities to speak at events, forums and conferences about youth mental health.
  • Before taking part in any media or speaking opportunity we provide you with storytelling training beforehand and support all throughout the experience. If you don't feel comfortable you don't have to be involved in the media side of hY NRG.
  • Involvement in participation opportunities – When there is a project taking place at headspace National and we believe it will benefit from having a young person involved, we put it out to hY NRG as a participation opportunity. This is when hY NRG members help work on developing projects, programs, and policies. This helps create services, resources, and systems that are young people friendly. We support you to become a part of the project team and contribute as much as possible.

It can get a bit busy, but you can sign up to what is going to work with your schedule. We expect that hY NRG members are involved in at least a few participation opportunities a year.


How will I work with other hY NRG members?

While you will be a big team of 24 hY NRG members, you will only all come together a few times during your term. You will stay connected online in-between, but when you’re working on projects you might be with 1 or 2 other hY NRG members who work on that project together. For example, you might see all your fellow hY NRG members in April for a meeting, but then you might work more closely on the headspace Day campaign with two other hY NRG members.


Am I eligible to be on hY NRG?

To apply for hY NRG you need to be:

  • Aged between 16 and 25 years at the time of application.
  • Within the last 12 months have engaged with a headspace service. This includes, attending a headspace Centre, being a part of a local Youth Reference Group, being a part of the digital work and study service, online career mentoring service, or accessed support via eheadspace.
  • Interested and passionate about youth mental health
  • Able to commit to participating in all parts of hY NRG until September/October 2022 (we understand that over 18 months things might change, but you should be able to broadly commit to the program when applying)
  • Comfortable and able to travel to Melbourne independently for four –days of face to face meetings (i.e. Thursday to Sunday) (travel will be paid for by headspace National)
  • If under 18, we will need consent from a parent or guardian for you to participate, and to apply (see the guardian consent form on the website).
  • You need to have or be willing to obtain a valid Working with Children’s Check (or equivalent) and undergo a Police check.


When putting together hY NRG we want to be able to represent Australian young people as much as possible. We want hY NRG to be made up of young people from a range of backgrounds including:

  • Young people from a range of state and territories including metropolitan, rural, and remote areas.
  • Have a range of different experiences with headspace, such as being a part of eheadspace or digital work and study services, or with a local centre service
  • A mix of ages and genders
  • Young people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
  • Young people with diverse cultural and language backgrounds
  • Young people who have a broad range of life experiences, including same sex attracted young people, gender diverse young people, experiences of homelessness, history of mental health issues, substance use, young carers, and young people with a disability


Do I need to be part of a headspace centre to participate?

hY NRG members need to be connected with a local headspace centre or service in some way. For example, you may be:

  • Receiving services at a headspace centre
  • Receiving services via eheadspace
  • Be engaged with our digital work and study service or online career mentoring service
  • Be a part of the headspace online spaces community
  • Be a headspace centre local youth reference group member
  • Be a peer worker at a headspace centre/service

You do not still have to be engaged with headspace at the time of your application.

This opportunity is not designed for people who are studying in the mental health field and wish to undertake placement at headspace National.


How much time do I need to be on hY NRG?

hY NRG members are appointed for 18 months. Traditionally, every six months there will be a face to face meeting in Melbourne (usually 3-5 days). These will usually take place from a Thursday to Sunday. Depending on where you are travelling from you may have extra travel days. You will get heaps of notice leading up to meeting dates.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic we’ve had to change the way we work with hY NRG, and in 2020 we have not been able to meet face-to-face (and headspace National has worked remotely since March 2020). We’ve done a lot of Zoom meetings to stay connected and to keep the work of hY NRG progressing. As the current coronavirus situation is constantly changing, we cannot predict exactly when we will be back to meeting face-to-face, but we will work with all hY NRG members to ensure they can stay engaged.

There will be participation activities, such as consultation or media opportunities that you can nominate to be involved in from time to time. While these are not mandatory, engaging in these activities is what being on hY NRG is all about, however they are flexible, and you can fit them into your schedule. Many hY NRG members also work or study while being on hY NRG.

Between meetings hY NRG will communicate via our online platform (called hannah), email, and video conferences. We expect that you take part in group discussions.


What are the benefits of being on hY NRG? 

There are many benefits to being on hY NRG. headspace recognises that reimbursing young people for their participation acknowledges the valuable contributions made by young people who have experienced mental health challenges.

hY NRG members will be paid for activities including:

  • Attending in-person and online meetings.
  • Activities where hY NRG members are engaged to make a specific and significant contribution to work being conducted by headspace National.


hY NRG members will not be paid for activities such as:

  • Reading and responding to ad hoc communication and discussions with headspace National.
  • Attending training and professional development opportunities (outside of in-person meetings), though travel and accommodation will be paid for by headspace as below. headspace will cover the cost for any mandatory training opportunities
  • Attending open forums or events run by headspace National when there is no expectation for a hY NRG member to have an active role at the event.


hY NRG members will have the opportunity to receive several benefits from participating including:

  • The ability to contribute to important projects that aim to support the mental health and wellbeing of all young Australians.
  • Training and professional development
  • Networking with young advocates and youth mental health professionals within the youth mental health sector
  • Practical work experience
  • Professional referees from headspace
  • Opportunities to attend conferences and other events
  • Development of skills in public speaking, media, project management, and other areas of interest
  • The chance to meet other like-minded and passionate young people from all around Australia


What does a hY NRG in-person meeting involve?  

hY NRG meetings are intensive, 4-day workshops held in Melbourne. They are an opportunity for the group to come together and work on projects and ideas, undertake training and development, and consult with headspace National. There will also be time to bond as a group and to hang out with each other.


What costs are involved?

There are no costs that you need to pay to be a hY NRG member. hY NRG members are casual employees of headspace National but are expected to do parts of their role on a voluntary basis (like responding to emails and staying in-touch online). We will make it clear when opportunities are paid or voluntary. All reasonable travel and accommodation costs, as well as any fees to do compulsory training will be covered by headspace.


Will I receive any support while on hY NRG?

hY NRG is a headspace National program. headspace National staff coordinate the program, and they will support you throughout your 18-month term. hY NRG is not a clinical program, and while we have staff who will check in about your wellbeing, we are not a clinical service and do not provide clinical support. Therefore, it’s important to stay connected to your local headspace centre/service and in-touch with your support team.


You will also receive support from four Youth Advisors. Youth Advisors are previous hY NRG members, so they know exactly what it's like to be on hY NRG. They work with headspace National to develop the hY NRG program and provide support to hY NRG members.


What is the point of hY NRG?

hY NRG aims to do the following:

  • Give young people the opportunity to provide input into the strategic direction of headspace National, headspace programs, and national mental health services.
  • Demonstrate good practice by involving young people in the sector that supports them.
  • Amplify the voice of young people and act on their input.
  • Provide opportunities for young people to develop leadership, media, communication, and advocacy skills.
  • Support young people to direct youth mental health policy development.


What’s a Youth Advisor?            

A Youth Advisor is a previous hY NRG member that supports hY NRG throughout their term. They come along to the meetings and help develop and facilitate the program. They are a great support for hY NRG members as they have an experience of what it’s like to be in hY NRG and just ‘get it’.


I have a question, but it’s not answered here?!

That’s okay! If you have any further questions, please contact Becc, the headspace National Senior Youth Participation Advisor, or another member of the Participation team, at, on 03 9027 0218, or on 0439 306 229.