Fun with serious side

David Heder, Katie Nelson, Kien Tran, Chantel Cracknell, Annie Elliot, Joanne White, Brianne Yarran and Claudia Emanuele were among the participants.
David Heder, Katie Nelson, Kien Tran, Chantel Cracknell, Annie Elliot, Joanne White, Brianne Yarran and Claudia Emanuele were among the participants.

As part of the event, students and staff dressed up as heroes and took part in workshops and activities with entertainment on offer and a range of mental health organisation information stalls on display. To dress up, students and staff each donated a gold coin, with all funds raised going to mental health organisations.

School psychologist Jayde Thompson said the idea behind the day was to raise awareness of support services, resources and healthy strategies that promote positive mental health and wellbeing to staff and students. ‘It is important for young people to engage in healthy communication about mental health issues as this can reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness,’ she said.

‘Mental health awareness assists in improving mental health outcomes in young people and promoting positive coping strategies and help-seeking.

‘It is also important for young people to be aware of support services and resources available within the community.

‘Students have shown an eagerness to talk about the issues, express themselves and become aware of what they can do to support themselves and others.’

The annual school-based event, established by non-profit organisation zero2hero founder Ashlee Harrison, aims to increase communication within schools and families about mental health.

The 25-year-old Scarborough resident said the day also provided young people with a space to challenge themselves and challenge their assumptions about life and who they were.

‘The day encourages open communication regarding the potential effects of bullying, anxiety, depression and suicide,’ she said.

‘While this type of open conversation has previously been rejected, healthy communication about these topics is now being viewed as an excellent preventative tool, giving students and teachers the freedom to express their thoughts on these issues, therefore reducing the stigma associated with them.’