Another successful Heads Up-Youth Mental Health Forum for Shire Schools

On Wednesday 27th May, we had to opportunity to participate in the second Heads Up- Youth Mental Health Forum for schools from the Sutherland Shire. This year started off with a bang, when Peter Slattery took the stage with excitement, engagement and enthusiasm. Students from 14 local secondary schools attended and had the opportunity to participate in meaningful discussions around youth mental health, how to connect, give, take notice, keep learning, and be active.

With a room full of passionate and excited students Peter got them discussing how they go about looking after themselves, what is important to them and how to look after their mates. To showcase last year's forum Woolooware high students presented the successful projected they created and spoke about how their whole school got involved. This was followed by our own Youth Reference Group member Alyssa talking about her role as a youth ambassador for headspace Miranda and what she loves about it. Guest speakers Maxi and Jesse from Bondi Rescue then talked about the challenges they face as lifeguards and how they support each other, followed by a video of their Ride-East Coast charity ride raising awareness about mental health.

After lunch a guest speaker from the Black Dog Institute shared her experiences with Bipolar and how she went about getting support. Students then reflected on this and shared what they had learnt before they were given the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of local service providers.

The overall aim of the day was to get local schools to come up with a project to raise awareness about mental health and build a healthy and happy school environment and take this project back to implement at their respective schools.

Peter wrapped up the day with a mind mapping exercise to get students to start thinking about their projects and what they had learnt from the day.

A huge thank you to Sutherland Shire Business Education Network who organised and drove the event, along with a steering committee of local services. We had such a great day and can't wait until next year!

Alyssa YRG

Picture Caption: YRG member Alyssa rocking the stage