Ten senior students from Eaglehawk Secondary College will represent Bendigo at the YMCA Youth Summit held in Melbourne on Monday.
The goal for the summit is to challenge the perspectives of the way people think, respond to and approach the topic of mental health and wellbeing among young people.
Bendigo YMCA youth empowerment coordinator Jamie Roberts said to have inspired and engaged young people within the community was part of the answer.
“Here in Bendigo, the YMCA wants to create more opportunities for young people to feel empowered to make a positive impact on their own lives and the lives of others,” Mr Roberts said.
“Inviting students from Eaglehawk Secondary College to represent the community at the summit is one way we can achieve that.”
Eaglehawk Secondary College health and physical education teacher Lauren Strange said it was a great opportunity for the students involved.
“It can be very hard being a teenager these days and the more strategies and methods we give young people to deal with mental health the better,” Mrs Strange said.
“They are in a different time and place to when I was growing up, they have multiple pressures.”
“As a health teacher I make sure that students are aware that health is not just measured by physical health it’s also about their mental wellbeing too.”
Eaglehawk Secondary students Sharni Franks and Oliver Harris were both selected by the school to be representatives at the summit.
“It will be great to be involved to help raise awareness about the mental health of young people,” Sharni said.
Oliver said raising awareness about mental health among youth was important and that he was very enthusiastic about attending the summit.
“Because our brains haven’t fully developed yet it’s good to understand that everyone is different and we don’t all think the same way as each other,” Oliver said.
Attendees at the summit will include students from multiple schools from around the state, author and mental health advocate Rachael Stevens and the 2017 Young Australian of the Year Jason Ball.
The students will be involved in workshops which focus on the relationship of physical wellbeing to mental health, tips on how to deal with stress and the importance of community.
After the summit they will share the various ideas that were discussed at the event with other students from Eaglehawk Secondary College and the broader community.
Mental health among youth was highlighted as a key priority by the City of Greater Bendigo in its Young People in Greater Bendigo youth strategy.