It was with great honour that the Naracoorte High School Independent Learning Centre was awarded a Certificate of Service to the Community at the recent Australia Day breakfast.
This award was based on the work done by the Independent Learning Centre around the Mental Health Festival held in 2017. This Festival attracted over 1500 people across the three days of activities. On day one 15 different workshops were held ranging from interactive action packed Hip Hop dancing, graffiti art, basic nutrition and practical food workshops, to more serious topics of women and men’s health, mental health, youth suicide as well as a teenage guide to stress management and numerous other workshops. In the evening we welcomed the inspirational ex local Ky Furneaux back to Naracoorte where she shared her journey as a stunt woman in Hollywood, winning Stunt Woman of the Year in 2012, and the trials and setbacks she has faced, and how she has overcome them. The second day involved over 35 organisations that serve the Naracoorte area, showcasing at our expo marquee in the Town square. Over 900 students from local schools in Naracoorte, Lucindale and the Upper South East and community members participated in interactive activities provided by the organisations to showcase their services and break down the stigma around mental health. Nathan Hulls – a motivational youth speaker sponsored by MIND Australia, conducted two workshops in the Town Hall that were extremely well received by the 1000 people that attended them. The third and final day was the Festival Fun Day where the ILC ran a Colour Run that provided a fun and relaxed way to end the festival with the theme “Together we Bounce Back”. Alongside the three day festival we introduced and ran a Mental Health Youth Ambassador programme from Years 7 -12 from all of the local schools attended workshops leading up to, during and after the festival to build on their knowledge and tool kits to put things in place to support people with positive mental health.
This program was supported by the wonderful Mary Freer from the Compassion Lab who donated her time. We are excited that Mary travelled from Adelaide specifically to attend the Australia Day award ceremony. Thank you to all of the students who took up the challenge of being our inaugural Mental Health Youth Ambassadors, a programme that we plan on continuing in 2018.
The festival would not have been possible without a grant from Arbonne Charitable Foundation. IThank you for the support of the local organisations and schools as well as the community of Naracoorte. We are so lucky to live in such a fantastic supportive community that has not only embraced the ILC but has also been positive and proactive around starting and having a conversation about mental health.
It is important to continue our work in the area of mental health as statistically; In each year, one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness. Mental illnesses are the third leading cause of disability burden in Australia, accounting for an estimated 27% of the total years lost due to disability.
Every 100 minutes a teen takes their own life. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. About 20 percent of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood. Between 10 to 15 percent suffer from symptoms at any one time.
Thank you to the Naracoorte Lucindale Council, and the Australia Day Council of South Australia for providing this award to the Naracoorte High School Independent Learning Centre.