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The Planet Youth delegates visit the Mayor of George

The Planet Youth delegates visited the Executive Mayor of George, Ald Leon van Wyk on Wednesday, 1 February 2023. The Department of Health and Wellness is launching a whole of society programme focused on mental health called “Planet Youth”. The Planet Youth Concept is an Icelandic Prevention Concept, that has proved a success in reducing substance abuse and is designed to strengthen protective factors building healthy communities, especially for young people.

This concept has already kicked off with trial surveys at Jonga High, Thembalethu High and Pacaltsdorp High School this year. The official roll-out of the programme to the schools in George and Uniondale will occur after the launinrom February 2023. A Convenors Group has been established, with the Department of Health, George Municipality, Departments of Education, Sports, Arts and Cultural Affairs, Social Development, University of Cape Town, SAPS and several Non-Governmental Organisations.

Background to Planet Youth Programme:

Planet Youth George is a WOSA (Whole of Society Approach) platform for community collaboration that aims to improve mental health by reducing youth substance use, violence, and school dropout rates using an evidence-based and internationally tested approach of youth development activities, community empowerment and rigorous auditing.

Planet Youth inc. is an international organization, working in many countries worldwide, developed, and underdeveloped, to alleviate alcohol harms in adolescence with benefits across the life course.

Planet Youth and UCT commenced the George Planet Youth Programme in October 2022.

Aims of the Planet Youth community program

By engaging with Planet Youth:

  1. The community of George aims to enroll all children across the subdistrict in mass participation to proactively develop health and wellness.
  2. The local community aims to achieve a significant reduction in youth alcohol harms which will be measured as decreased school dropout rates, improved school academic performance, and a reduction in violence. This is projected to alleviate the burden on the overwhelmed mental healthcare system, correctional services, judiciary, education and social development.
  3. The local community aims to improve employment rates by producing employment-ready youth.
  4. Applying the Planet Youth view of positioning the school as the hub, reducing the economic and social harms of youth substance use and by increasing employment rates, the local community aims to significantly improve food security in affected communities.
  5. The local community aims to achieve a significant increase in sporting and cultural achievement which will improve mental health, physical well-being and competitiveness in affected schools.



FROM LEFT: Dr Zilla North (Department of Education), Dehran Swart (UCT), Lynn Le Grange (Department of Education), Councillor Raybin Figland (Executive Deputy Mayor of George), Alderman Leon van Wyk (Executive Mayor of George), Pall Rikhardsson (From Iceland, CEO of Planet Youth), Dr Herman Reuter (UCT and Sahara), Jonel Kerspuy (Planet Youth Programme)