It is billed as an exclusive space for ‘offline, unplugged and real conversations’ for 16 to 25 year olds – and has been designed by a group of Sunshine Coast high school and university students to encourage young people to think a little differently about mental health.
Rewired: Youth-led Mental Health is a free event this Saturday, 21 October from 10am to 4pm at Venue 114, Kawana, and is an initiative of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Thompson Institute, in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Council.
“Created for young people, by young people, it is a chance to talk openly about mental health experiences,” says UniSC PhD student and youth mental health researcher Taliah Prince, who is a member of the planning committee.
“A big emphasis on the day will be the importance of real conversations and connections,” Taliah said.
“We’ll also share practical, evidence-backed tips for young people to prioritise their wellbeing so they can live their best lives.”
Taliah will be part of a five-person lived experience panel, sharing her story of living with, and recovering from, an eating disorder.
“The panel is really aiming to reduce stigma related to mental health and the way we talk about it, as well as providing a sense of relatability, and empowering young people to navigate their own mental health journeys with a deeper understanding and a stronger sense of community," Taliah said.
Among the list of inspirational guest presenters is professional surfer and advocate Cooper Chapman, who founded the Good Human Factory after watching his sister lose friends to suicide in her last year of high school.
“We aim to inspire our community and workshop participants to think about mental health a little differently,” Cooper said.
“Our message is that mental health is not mental illness. And we all need to become aware of – and take care of – our mental wellbeing.”
The day will include sessions on ‘breaking the stigma’ of mental health and ‘taming your inner critic’, food that can boost moods and ways to manage emotions and support others when they are down.
A range of fun and challenging exercise options will explore body movement and connection for better mental health, including yoga and boxing, and meditation techniques guided by a Buddhist nun.
Trained mental health staff and volunteers will also be available for one-on-one talks and advice.
Organisers say it will be more than just one day of sharing and connections. Issues and gaps in mental health support for young people identified by Rewired participants will be outlined in a report which will be shared with UniSC, Sunshine Coast Council and Coast to Country PHN.
Funding support includes grants from Council and from a generous donation of $20,000 from a Sunshine Coast family whose son lived with mental illness.
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