National mental health organisation to visit five Upper Hunter schools

THE Carrigan family from Bunnan is the driving force behind Upper Hunter-based charity ‘Where There’s a Will’.

Spurred into action after their 24-year old son and brother Will tragically lost his battle with depression on Christmas Day last year, the charity has now helped bring national organisation batyr to the region.

The organisation will start a conversation with local youth about mental health while also encouraging young people to seek help when they need it, and share messages of strength and recovery in schools, universities and the community.

More than 330 Year 11 and 12 students across five high schools in the Upper Hunter will hear batyr’s message of resilience and hope from Monday, August 29.

Young batyr speakers will tell students how they have successfully managed their own mental health, along with trained facilitators who deliver vital information in a fun, safe, and engaging way.

The local community has rallied behind ‘Where There’s A Will’, raising tens of thousands of dollars to fund education to improve the mental health of youth in the area.

SPREADING THE WORD: Pauline Carrigan at the Manali Limousin Bull Sale earlier this month, which raised funds for the 'Where There's A Will' charity.

SPREADING THE WORD: Pauline Carrigan at the Manali Limousin Bull Sale earlier this month, which raised funds for the 'Where There's A Will' charity.

Will’s mother Pauline says she’s excited for local students to have the opportunity to see baytr’s programs.

“A key goal for ‘Where There’s A Will’ has been to ensure that every student in the Upper Hunter leaves school knowing about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and where they can go for help in their town,” Mrs Carrigan said.

“batyr does some excellent work in this regard and we expect they’ll have a significant impact on improving the well being of our kids during what can be a challenging period in their lives.”

Research shows that the best approach to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health is through direct contact with peers who have experienced similar struggles.

batyr plays an important role in breaking down this stigma and bridging the gap between young people and the wide array of services available to them.

This contributes to an increased likelihood to seek help when a young person or peer needs it.

  • Here are details of when and where the batyr programs will be delivered: Monday, August 29: Scone High School (Y12) 9.30-11am, Scone Grammar School (Y11 and 12) 1.15-2.45pm. Tuesday, August 30: St Joseph’s Aberdeen (Y12) 8.45-10.30am, Muswellbrook High School (Y12) 11.30-1pm. Wednesday, August 31: Merriwa Central School (Y11 and 12) 2-3.30pm.