WE SHOULD FOCUS ON OUR COMMON HUMANITY
Each year on Australia Day, Australians come together to celebrate living and being part of this nation, a multicultural nation, a nation expanding and thriving on accepting people of all different races, cultures and backgrounds. However, this year I am asking you to look at multiculturalism from a different angle.
While multiculturalism describes the values and beliefs we hold close, this term can be divisive in nature. Multiculturalism recognises the differences in background, skin colour and lifestyle and asks us to accept them.
Instead of multiculturalism, a term which focuses on the differences of our country and our people, I implore you to focus more on a common humanity. We all have this, yet no one celebrates what we have in common, we instead focus on our differences.
The key to acceptance and harmony is both; finding similarities, and accepting differences. Neither are more important, and having one without the other creates an imbalance which grows into disconnection with community, feelings of being unwelcome and isolation.
Our country is diverse, and we should celebrate that. But we should celebrate not just the diversity of our friends, family and neighbours; we should celebrate our common humanity.
I have worked with young people my entire life and have seen kids from all different cultures and backgrounds grow and develop into kind, generous and thoughtful people.
Their backgrounds are irrelative to their nature, my kids are good people because that is who they are, and that is what defines them.
Australia Day is a time to focus on our common humanity.
Australia will continue to develop, our people becoming more diverse and our cultures intertwining. It is up to you to develop with it.
Father Chris Riley, CEO and founder at Youth Off The Streets
primary and secondary school over the coming weeks may be facing similar feelings – whether they are starting another school year or commencing a new school for the first time.
Some students can adjust to the changes and settle into things quickly. However, some young people may find this a daunting and challenging time.
There can be a number of reasons why it might be hard to go school: trying to make new friends, pressure to get the best marks, dealing with bullying, or perhaps going through a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. These worries can make the next few weeks an uncertain time.
Whether you are a young person struggling, or a parent with concerns about your child, headspace is here to help. As the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace provides support for young people aged 12-25 years old who are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.
No matter where you are, you can access help at headspace – either through one of our 95 centres in metro, rural and regional areas of Australia, or via eheadspace.org.au where you can receive online and telephone support between 9am-1am (AEDT), seven days-aweek. There are also general mental health and wellbeing resources available on our website: headspace.org.au.
We wish you and your families a safe and healthy school year ahead.
Dr Natalie Gray, Chief Medical Officer, headspace
A gentle morning in Port Douglas in the steady build up to rain later on