When The Armidale School and Sydney Grammar First XVs meet in the first round of the AAGPS Third Grade rugby competition this Saturday (14 May), each will be playing for victory – but both will also kicking goals for mental health.
The two schools share an association with batyr, an organisation that focuses on preventative education in the area of youth mental health – and as part of batyr’s One Sock One Goal campaign, players on both teams will wear a polka-dot sock to express that it’s OK to talk about the tough issues.
Indeed, so committed to the campaign is TAS that all its students will pull up a polka dot sock for batyr, whether it be on the rugby field, the football pitch or the netball court.
In the two days prior to the weekend’s fixtures, a team from batyr will return to the school for wellbeing sessions with senior secondary students and a parent forum focussing on managing student mental health. The visit follows a successful staff personal development session with batyr staff last term and a forum with Year 10-12 students in 2015.
“Adolescence is a particularly challenging time for the mental health of young people as they deal with issues such as self identity and the expectations placed on them by themselves and others,” TAS Director of Pastoral Care Barney Buntine said.
“We see it as a natural part of our role to help our students through these issues and help give our parents tools and the resources available that can help equip them to support their sons and daughters.”
TAS and Grammar will compete in 10 rugby fixtures from the 13s to Opens, with the Thirds playing visitors Scots PGC Warwick. Football and netball teams will play teams as part of Armidale district competitions.