Ash­lee uses plat­form for youth ad­vo­cacy

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

IN be­tween putting the fi­nal touches on the first ze­ro2hero fundraiser in more than two years, Ash­lee Har­ri­son went up against friend Nick Maisey in the Youth Award cat­e­gory for West Aus­tralian of the Year.

“I was sit­ting on the same table as Nick and we were writ­ing a po­ten­tial ac­cep­tance speech to­gether… bounc­ing ideas off each other,” Ms Har­ri­son, of Church­lands, said.

But it did not pre­pare the ze­ro2hero founder for when her name was called as the win­ner.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so anx­ious,” she said.

Ms Har­ri­son said she wanted to use the op­por­tu­nity to tell the room “of so many im­por­tant peo­ple” why ze­ro2hero ex­isted.

“We need to talk about men­tal ill­ness and youth sui­cide and re­duce the stigma around it,” she said.

The award will en­able Ms Har­ri­son to ed­u­cate young lead­ers in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“The award was spon­sored by BHP, which is very ex­cit­ing be­cause we want to move our pro­grams and pro­mote them ru­rally,” she said.

“We want to launch our camp pro­grams into Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties for young lead­ers… this part­ner­ship will make that pos­si­ble.”

ze­ro2hero Day is Fri­day, June 24, and pro­motes aware­ness of men­tal health by en­cour­ag­ing schools to start a con­ver­sa­tion about it.

Ze­ro2hero’s in­au­gu­ral gala fundraiser at Gov­ern­ment House on Satur­day raised $39,000 to sup­port youth men­tal health and sui­cide pre­ven­tion pro­grams.

Picture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d455336

WA Youth Award win­ner Ash­lee Har­ri­son.

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