LO­CAL YOUNG PEO­PLE PLAY­ING A PART IN THE GOVERN­MENT’S MEN­TAL HEALTH AGENDA

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Local Politics -

Young peo­ple in our com­mu­nity will ben­e­fit from the Mor­ri­son govern­ment’s in­vest­ment of $2.8 mil­lion into batyr’s online dig­i­tal sto­ry­telling plat­form. We have nu­mer­ous young peo­ple who are en­gaged in vol­un­teer­ing and work­ing with batyr who wel­come the an­nounce­ment.

The plat­form will sup­port batyr’s safe and ef­fec­tive pro­grams in schools which en­cour­age pos­i­tive con­ver­sa­tions about men­tal health and em­power young peo­ple to reach out for sup­port when they need it.

Ju­lian Leeser MP re­cently sat in a room with Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son and a num­ber of his col­leagues to talk about how to tackle youth men­tal health and sui­cide pre­ven­tion. There is no doubt that this is one of the most sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges Aus­tralia is fac­ing to­day and has a deep im­pact on fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.

Ju­lian Leeser MP said, “It is or­gan­i­sa­tions like batyr, that play an im­por­tant part in re­duc­ing the stigma around men­tal health, em­pow­er­ing young peo­ple to ask for help when they need it.” Berowra’s very own Anna Coote vol­un­teers for batyr.

“Be­ing a speaker for batyr has em­pow­ered me to turn my lived ex­pe­ri­ence with men­tal ill-health into a con­struc­tive tool which I hope helps oth­ers to know they are not alone,” said Anna Coote.

“Af­ter speak­ing at pro­grams, I am of­ten ap­proached by peo­ple want­ing to share how the ses­sion, and my story, was mean­ing­ful for them. I have seen first-hand the way that batyr’s pro­gram at my univer­sity has en­cour­aged some of my friends to seek sup­port for their own men­tal health, as well as sim­ply be­gun con­ver­sa­tion s that help to smash the stigma.”

Batyr was launched in 2011, af­ter founder Se­bas­tian Robert­son ex­pe­ri­enced the frus­tra­tion and iso­la­tion of liv­ing silently with men­tal ill health whilst at univer­sity. Seven in 30 stu­dents in Aus­tralia are deal­ing with men­tal health is­sues but only two of th­ese will reach out for sup­port.

Se­bas­tian recog­nised that it was time to have open hon­est con­ver­sa­tions about men­tal health with young peo­ple, and founded the or­gan­i­sa­tion, nam­ing it af­ter batyr, The Talk­ing Ele­phant from Kaza­khstan.

Batyr and their ap­proach demon­strates to young peo­ple that tak­ing own­er­ship over their men­tal health is both pos­si­ble and im­por­tant.

“I have been en­cour­aged over my time as the Mem­ber for Berowra by the growth I have seen in our com­mu­nity’s aware­ness and sin­cere com­pas­sion for those who are strug­gling with their own men­tal health. The stigma sur­round­ing men­tal ill­ness also seems to be less­en­ing,” said Ju­lian Leeser MP.

This fund­ing boost is just one of the Mor­ri­son govern­ment’s in­vest­ments in youth men­tal health and sui­cide, with a to­tal com­mit­ment of $503.1 mil­lion over the com­ing term.

“This is a mas­sive in­vest­ment in the men­tal health of our young peo­ple; how­ever, we need to bring the fight from all sides. We need to be a com­mu­nity that con­stantly looks out for each other; in our fam­i­lies, our friend­ship groups, our schools, clubs and in our broader com­mu­nity.

“We also must be proac­tive as in­di­vid­u­als to look af­ter our­selves, to speak up when we need help, to look af­ter our bodies, and to pick our­selves up when we fail and try again,” said Ju­lian Leeser MP.

If you are think­ing about sui­cide or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a per­sonal cri­sis, help is avail­able. Please con­tact Life­line on 13 11 14.

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