Julian with Anna Coote
18 June 2019
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Local young people playing a part in the Government's mental health agenda

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Young people in our community will benefit from the Morrison government’s investment of $2.8 million into batyr’s online digital storytelling platform. We have numerous young people who are engaged in volunteering and working with batyr who welcome the announcement.

The platform will support batyr’s safe and effective programs in schools which encourage positive conversations about mental health and empower young people to reach out for support when they need it.

Julian Leeser MP recently sat in a room with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a number of his colleagues to talk about how to tackle youth mental health and suicide prevention. There is no doubt that this is one of the most significant challenges Australia is facing today and has a deep impact on families and communities.

Julian Leeser MP said, “It is organisations like batyr, that play an important part in reducing the stigma around mental health, empowering young people to ask for help when they need it.”

Berowra’s very own Anna Coote volunteers for batyr.

“Being a speaker for batyr has empowered me to turn my lived experience with mental ill-health into a constructive tool which I hope helps others to know they are not alone,” said Anna Coote.

“After speaking at programs, I am often approached by people wanting to share how the session, and my story, was meaningful for them. I have seen first-hand the way that batyr’s program at my university has encouraged some of my friends to seek support for their own mental health, as well as simply begun conversations that help to smash the stigma.”

batyr was launched in 2011, after founder Sebastian Robertson experienced the frustration and isolation of living silently with mental ill health whilst at university. Seven in 30 students in Australia are dealing with mental health issues but only two of these will reach out for support.

Sebastian recognised that it was time to have open honest conversations about mental health with young people, and founded the organisation, naming it after batyr, The Talking Elephant from Kazakhstan.

batyr and their approach demonstrates to young people that taking ownership over their mental health is both possible and important.

“I have been encouraged over my time as the Member for Berowra by the growth I have seen in our community’s awareness and sincere compassion for those who are struggling with their own mental health. The stigma surrounding mental illness also seems to be lessening,” said Julian Leeser MP.

This funding boost is just one of the Morrison government’s investments in youth mental health and suicide, with a total commitment of $503.1 million over the coming term.

“This is a massive investment in the mental health of our young people; however, we need to bring the fight from all sides. We need to be a community that constantly looks out for each other; in our families, our friendship groups, our schools, clubs and in our broader community.

“We also must be proactive as individuals to look after ourselves, to speak up when we need help, to look after our bodies, and to pick ourselves up when we fail and try again,” said Julian Leeser MP.

If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis, help is available. Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.