Students initiate Stand With Us
Concern over mental health issues in young
STUDENTS at Townsville’s largest Catholic school have started an annual mental health day to address rising youth suicide rates.
Ryan Catholic College will hold its first ever Stand With Us day tomorrow, after senior students Bob Hart and Corey Kranz came up with the idea in response to increasing mental health problems among young people.
Working with other Year 12 students, the boys have organised to run a program at the school tomorrow for mental health charity LIVIN while community organisations will hold a lunchtime expo to deliver mental health information and resources.
Corey, 17, said they came up with the idea after hearing about a teenager within the Townsville rugby community who took his own life earlier this year.
“One of our friends was in a dark place and we wanted to do something without jumping out and directly saying his name,” he said.
“We figured it would help a lot of other people who aren’t necessarily vocal about it.
“I think it’s more common than it should be.
“It’s sort of hidden from the public’s view.”
Corey said the stigma surrounding suicide made it harder on the friends who were left behind.
“As the school year changes, we’d like to see more young people get involved ... to make it a more common thing to talk about rather than hide behind closed doors,” he said.
“We hope that it’ll make it easier for people to talk about mental health in a way that it normalises it.”
Bob, 18, said his sister had experienced mental health issues.
“Growing up with that, it’s hard on you,” he said.
“It’s good to get it out there because it’s not really spoken about.”
Students have also organised fundraising activities to raise money for future guest speakers, including selling ribbons – green to symbolise mental health and yellow for suicide.
School psychologist Tracy Blanchard said the Year 12 student group had really taken ownership of the day.
“They’re seeing this happen in their own community and they want to be able to support each other,” she said.
“The staff have supported them, but they’ve organised most of it themselves.”
ORGANISERS: Ryan Catholic College students Bob Hart, 18, and Corey Kranz, 17.