Last call

1 October 2013

Written by: Mandi Santic

During the month of October, the challenge is being put to Australians to reevaluate their drinking habits.

Life Education Australia, the largest non-government provider of drug and health education to children and young people, are once again running their Ocsober campaign.

Ocsober is a fundraiser that encourages Australians to give up alcohol in October.

Money raised from Ocsober goes to Life Education, which provides primary and high school students with educational services, including how to make the best choices for a safer and healthier life.

Life Education’s mascot, the giraffe – Healthy Harold, has been helping with teaching Australian children for over 30 years on how to live a responsible, healthy life by educating them about how to make informed choices.

The program is tailored to be age-appropriate, and touches on the consequences of drug and alcohol use in the upper primary and junior secondary modules.

The Ocsober campaign aims to raise awareness on how Australians consume alcohol and encourages a healthy and balanced approach to drinking.

Binge drinking is a major problem amongst young Australians. A study led by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne Centre for Adolescent Health, Professor George Patton, found that majority of adolescents who binge drink, continue to drink heavily in their 20s.

Life Education National Marketing Coordinator Monica Moran, says Ocsober is an important initiative because “it educates children about how to make safe and healthy choices especially when comes to personal health – which covers a broad range of substances – legal and illegal, drugs, alcohol and tobacco”.

Moran says Life Education’s mission doesn’t come across as a “just say no” approach.

“We provide information to kids and teach them how to take that information away, so they can make safe and healthy choices,” she says.

“If we educate children in these areas, we’re contributing to society so future generations can be healthy and productive.”

Apart from encouraging Australians to give up drinking alcohol for a month, another main feature of the Ocsober campaign is to get the conversation started about alcohol consumption.

“It’s really important to educate young Australians about their use of alcohol consumption and find out their attitude towards it and pattern of use,” Moran says.

“We’re not saying alcohol is bad, we just want to get people focused on how they drink and also talk about other activities they can do instead of drinking alcohol – which makes for a healthier lifestyle.”

“Early intervention is best through education. If people have all the information they need to be aware of the consequences of drinking, then they will be equipped to make right choices about alcohol or drugs.”

Some of the 2013 Ocsober Ambassadors include television presenter Natalie Gruzlewski, swimmer Eamon Sullivan, singer Angry Anderson and Channel Seven reporter Talitha Cummins.

Life Education programs also cover topics such as healthy food choices, bullying, effects of smoking, safety with medicines and online safety. All of these programs are delivered to children and young adolescents by trained and experienced educators, through mobile learning centres.

Take the challenge, and sign up for Ocsober here.

Mandi SanticTHUMB

Mandi Santic is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, and a staff writer for upstart. You can follow her on Twitter: @candidmandi





Image source (c) Life Education Australia