Help with mental health

Bianca, Sienna and Bowdie with some of the screen-printed tote bags. 236038_01

By Danielle Kutchel

With mental health in the spotlight, a Narre Warren VCAL class has taken matters into its own hands with an exhibition to explain to their peers that help is out there.

The VCAL Intermediate (year 11) class at Foundation Learning Centre in Narre Warren held a mental health exhibition on Tuesday 4 May, featuring presentations on and information about a variety of support organisations.

The event was designed to raise awareness of the fact that help is available, according to teacher Daniella Maloney.

“We’ve got about 15 different organisations presented, and the students created PowerPoints and brochures to give out to people,” she explained.

Students worked in pairs to choose which organisation they wished to focus on, resulting in a diverse range covering issues like bipolar disorder, sexuality, family deaths and depression.

The students also created small products to sell on the day, all with a positive vibe; tables were decorated with handmade keyrings in colourful designs, as well as hand-painted canvas prints and screen-printed tote bags featuring positive affirmations and mottos written by each student.

Parents, families and students from other year levels were then invited to visit the exhibition.

Ms Maloney said students had “really gotten into” the idea.

“I think the mottos gave them that personal buy-in,” she said.

“It’s been able to personalise the event for them.”

The mottos were also screen-printed on calico bunting which was used to decorate the room.

Alanna Head, a student in the VCAL class, said “quite a lot of work” had gone into the day.

“Everyone has participated a lot in trying to make today a really good day for everyone,” she explained.

“I chose Lifeline for my presentation, I felt like it was one of the more important ones because it deals with suicide prevention.

“But everyone chose different ones that are all very important as well.”

She said she hoped people would feel more able to reach out when they need help with their mental health.

“There’s nothing embarrassing about reaching out for help, because there are a lot of people struggling and it’s better to speak up than stay quiet,” she said.

Her classmate Bowdie Hallisey researched the Black Dog Institute and said she had learned a lot about the type of help and resources available for different mental illnesses.

“It’s always good to have information, and if you know it, it will benefit yourself and others around you,” she said.

“Give people the resources they might need because not everyone is ready to get help but when they are, they need to know where to go.”

Ms Maloney said the work students put in to their booths and presentations would contribute to their marks in their personal development and work-related skills classes.

If you need help, please reach out to:

Beyond Blue: or call 1300 22 4636

Lifeline: or call 13 11 14