batyr x NSW Department of Education to reach drought-affected NSW
batyr is working with the NSW Department of Education and Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronwyn Taylor to deliver mental health programs to drought-affected regional NSW communities.
Making the announcement at Orara High School in Coffs Harbour, the grant will be delivered over 2 years to allow up to 33 eligible schools (chosen by the department) from remote locations to experience batyr’s programs.
These are new schools that batyr has not yet been able to reach and include such regions as Peel, Namoi, Northern Tablelands, Mooki, Western Plains, Barwon, Deniliquin, Far West, Macquarie, Mudgee, Mitchell, Cowra, West Wyalong, and Griffith.
batyr recognises the strain that drought can have on the mental health of communities. Added to that barriers to accessing services and the stigma surrounding mental health, it’s little wonder that regional NSW has remained a focus for batyr since 2011.
“batyr is happy to be working with Minister Sarah Mitchell, Minister Bronwyn Taylor and the NSW Department of Education. Ensuring schools and communities that otherwise may not have access to these important programs is critical,” batyr CEO Nic Brown said.
“Early prevention is a large piece in achieving better mental health outcomes for young people and we agree with Minister Taylor that schools are on the front line in providing this support.”
“To extend these programs into new regions we haven’t previously been able to reach is really exciting, and we want to help support the work that’s already happening in these areas.”
“It is great to see a focus from Government on these regions and schools in such a practical way.”
Among the programs to be delivered are:
- [email protected] mental health education programs designed to engage students (years 9-12) and empower them to reach out for support when they need it through the sharing of lived experience stories.
- Teacher PD workshops to educate and equip teachers with the knowledge they need to support themselves and their students.
- School Chapters where students further mental health messaging and wellbeing programs within their school and the wider community.
- Being Herd workshops, where young people learn how to share their story safely in order to provide other young people with hope and encourage them to reach out for support when they need it.
The goal is to take a holistic approach to improving mental health outcomes in these communities. batyr will work closely with existing providers within each region, including organisations such as NSW Schools Link Coordinators, RAMHP, NSW Sport & Rec, Clontarf and Marathon Health.
batyr aims to connect students, teachers and families in order to continue the mental health conversation in these communities, beyond simply a “fly-in, fly-out” approach. To better plan for reaching schools across all these regions, batyr has grouped them into proposed hubs, and we will provide a suite of programs to each hub based on context of communities including school size and demand for programs.
Mental health organisation headspace, and the PAXIS Institute, a US-based developer of behavioural health strategies for school students, were also announced as partner providers under the NSW Government’s first round of grants totalling over $2.5 million as part of its larger $88.4 million mental health in schools commitment.
batyr’s involvement will also align with the NSW Government’s Rural Youth Strategy.
Since 2015, batyr has delivered 276 mental health programs and community forums across regional NSW, reaching more than 23,000 people.
If this story has brought up strong feelings for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.