Young men use wellbeing summit to support mental health causes

Facing problems head-on: A youth-organised event recognising mental illness and doing something about it. Left to right: Patrick Hermawan, Jesse Park, Chenny Chen and Brandon Saputra. Picture: Jane Dyson
Facing problems head-on: A youth-organised event recognising mental illness and doing something about it. Left to right: Patrick Hermawan, Jesse Park, Chenny Chen and Brandon Saputra. Picture: Jane Dyson

SEVERAL bright young men at Sydney Technical High School at Bexley noticed that the month of March had a number of significant days including Harmony Day and National Day of Action Against Bullying.

They were also aware that many students could use help to get them through emotional problems.

So they approached their welfare teacher Kirk Grinham with an idea for a Youth Wellbeing Summit.

They organised a number of organisations to visit the school on Tuesday, March 10, including headspace, the Salvation Army, Vinnies and Family Planning NSW to provide information and resources.

School vice-captain Chenny Chen said they believed this was necessary as mental illness was effecting youth at a historically high rate.

"For example, suicide is the number one cause of death for young males," Chenny said.

"And the number one reason for youth homelessness is because of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex) issues.

"We are trying to start addressing these issues at our school this summit.

"This event is completely student co-ordinated as we believe these issues really resonate with our year group."

Mr Grinham said the event was about recognising the needs of young people and celebrating their diversity.

He said there was less stigma around mental health and young people were more comfortable with talking about their problems.

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