Former student returns with mental health toolbox

Posted 23rd July 2015

Look out, get talking, listen up, reach out, take charge – these were the key messages for good mental health given to senior school students at TAS yesterday by a group of presenters committed to improving the wellbeing of young people.

The sessions, presented by the social enterprise Batyr, enabled students to hear stories from young people who have experienced mental ill health, and included tips and advice to empower them to make a difference in their own lives and others.

Amongst the group were former TAS senior prefect Jonathon Peatfield who facilitated the sessions, and Wallaby Paddy Ryan, one of the presenters. Named for an elephant claimed to be able to use a large amount of human speech, the group aims to “give a voice to the elephant in the room’ and de-stigmatise mental health.

“I’ve sat where you boys are now, and as much as this is a pretty awesome school there are times when school is crap,” Jonathon said.

“What’s important is that you take what friendship means, here and beyond – be mindful of who you are, identify things that help you when you’re down, look after each other, and take charge of how you deal with it.”

Paddy Ryan reflected on various strategies he used to keep mentally healthy and happy, including daily swims in the ocean and “leaving (mental) stuff behind”.

The visit to TAS was one of several to regional schools this week. The northern trip culminates in the White Elephant Ball in Tamworth this Saturday, which raises funds for the work of the not-for-profit organisation.