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Supporting Your Teenager Through Racism

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Supporting Your Teenager Through Racism


Supporting Your Teenager Through Racism

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Racism is never acceptable, and is something that no one should have to face. Unfortunately racism is still very present and is something that many people experience in their day to day life. Racism can have significant negative impacts on individuals and can impact many aspects of their life, including their social and emotional wellbeing.

As a parent, it’s important to equip yourself with the tools to support your teenager through these experiences. Whether they’ve personally experienced racism, witnessed it, or want to become allies, here are some resources to help guide you: 


What is racism: 

It’s important to understand what racism is and how it manifests. Even better, educate yourself on different forms of racism and how to recognise them: 

Understanding racism and how to spot it


Supporting Your Teenager 

Experiencing Racism can be especially difficult for young people. It's important for them to know that they’re not alone and that you’re there to listen and support them. One step in this direction is to encourage open conversations about their experiences and feelings. See resources below: 

Navigating racism with your teen

Helping your teen cope with racism 

Talking to your teen about their culture and race


Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth: 

Racism is something that a lot of mob experience. Whether it be at school, work or in public, it is tough to deal with and can have big impacts on how our young people feel and on their emotional wellbeing. Let your teenager know that they don’t have to deal with racism on their own, and that having a yarn to someone about it can make them feel better. Remind them how deadly they are - they are part of the longest living culture in the world, and their ancestors are all with them in spirit to guide them and give them strength. 

If you think that your teen may want to connect with, hear from, ask for advice or share about what they’re going through with other Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community members, you can encourage them to join the Youth community and check out our new First Nations Yarning space in the Youth forums here

We also wanted to share some ways for teens to keep safe and look after themselves when dealing with racism. Feel free to pass these onto your teen, and if you have any others, we would love for you to share them with us. 

Stay connected to culture and your mob/local community. 

  • This article shares some ways to connect with the community. 

Have a yarn to someone about what's been going on for you and about how you are feeling.

  • We have a list of support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here.
  • Join the ReachOut yarning space on the online youth community. 

How to respond to racism and stay safe online: 

  • eSafety has some stories for mob and tips to help you stay safe and deadly online. Find them here or by looking up ‘First Nations eSafety’. 
  • Responding to racism. 

Take a break from the news, social media, and the comments section. 

  • One of the downsides to social media is that now more than at any other time in history, we can read hundreds of thousands of people's opinions at once, which is a lot to handle, especially when reading about an issue that directly affects you and your community.
  •  Check in on your teen after they spend time online and offer them support if they want to chat about anything they've seen.


Wellbeing supports for Aboriginal or/and Torres Strait Islander young people: 

Finding health services that really understand what you're going through as a First Nations person can be tough. So, we've put together a list of resources to make it easier to find the right help for you.


Health services

These directories are all about helping you find health care that makes sense for you, whether you're dealing with a specific health issue or need some general support.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). They provide a map of all the health services designed and run by the local community.

 Australian Indigenous Health Info Net. They map each state's health and medical services, including hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities.


State-based services

Here's a quick snapshot of each state's First Nations health services run by the local community.


 ACT Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service 

 NSW Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales

 NT Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory

 QLD Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council

 SA Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia

 TAS Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Inc

 VIC Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc.

 WA The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia


Mental Health Services

Remember, your physical and social and emotional wellbeing are connected. So, if you're after mental health support, options are available. 

Search for national social and emotional well-being support services here

YARN13 is a 24/7 helpline run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You can call them on 13 92 76

Brother To Brother is a 24/7 crisis helpline run by Aboriginal men, including Elders with lived experience. You can call them on 1800 435 799

Kids Helpline is a free phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25. They are available 24/7 and you can call them on 1800 55 1800. 

Lifeline is a 24/7 crisis helpline for all Australians. It is free and you can call them on 13 11 14. 

Wellmob - information and resources for wellbeing 

iBobbly - a self-help app 

Thirrili - support for individuals, families, and communities affected by suicide or other significant trauma

Yarn Safe - Mental health and well-being resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Manual of Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention - Practical resources and videos supporting positive mental health and wellbeing



For Allies

Support your teen to be an ally and stand up against racism:

If your teen wants to know how to stand up against racism and how to be an ally for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, we have some articles below that can help them out: 


Other resources: 

ReachOut Yarn Up collection

Racism it stops with me