Research into the phenomenon of ‘schoolies week’ over the past two decades shows high proportions of young people put themselves in harm’s way during these celebrations. Although there are a number of support services including ‘Red Frogs‘ (who do things like walk young people home and cook them pancakes), schoolies don’t often access these services.
Throughout the year, one teenager dies and 60 more are hospitalised due to alcohol-related causes each week. ¹ A period like schoolies has the potential for even greater harm. Many school leavers expect to get drunk at schoolies and they often meet that expectation.² Alcohol use is common and heavy at these events with just under half (46 per cent) reporting consumption of typically five or more drinks on one occasion. Generally, young people drink more at schoolies (frequency and quantity) than they drink at other times.³
Parents and teachers do their best to prepare young people heading to these events, so they can enjoy the time safely. One resource they should encourage schoolies to use is Red Frogs Australia.
Red Frogs is a terrific support program for young people aged 15 to 25. It provides a positive peer presence where young people gather. Red Frogs promote safe partying behaviours and provide non-alcoholic activities for young people at schoolies locations.
Over 1500 Red Frog volunteers across Australia support school leavers throughout their week-long celebrations. They walk schoolies home at night, cook them pancakes, clean their rooms, hand out Allen’s Red Frogs and, most importantly, offer emotional support in what can turn into a challenging time for some people.
Red Frogs also provide safety tips for people heading to Schoolies week, including:
- Prepare well for Schoolies. Bring lots of food, including frozen meals that are easy to prepare.
- Never go anywhere alone and don’t leave a friend alone. Get a Red Frog crew member to walk you and your friends back to your accommodation.
- Own the responsibility for your celebration. Look after yourself and your mates.
- Don’t mix with ‘Toolies’ (people who aren’t school leavers and try to hijack your celebrations).
- One for One: for every alcoholic drink, drink a bottle of water.
- Take a break from alcohol. It’s important to have at least one or more sober nights and always have a designated sober person in your group.
- Know your limits and stick to them. If you are drunk you are vulnerable and out of control.
- Avoid drugs. Schoolies week is not a time to start experimenting.
Red Frogs operate a 24/7 call centre on 1300 557 123 for all school-leavers during Schoolies week. For more information visit the Red Frogs Australia website. Red Frogs are now also at Schoolies events in Bali and Fiji.
Share your advice for schoolies by posting a comment below.