batyr’s impact in 2020
2020 has been a challenging year for young people Australia-wide and that’s why batyr needed to step up and continue to make an impact.
COVID-19, and the physical distancing that has come with it, hit us in the heart of what we do: engaging with young people. Many of our upcoming program dates were either cancelled or postponed and as a result, it was a very uncertain time at the start of this year.
BUT with a bit of innovation, we were able to adapt to this wild time in human history, achieving some incredible things and still managing to make a difference in the lives of young people.
2020 programs looked a little different
We created a brand new digital offering, batyr Online, that we launched in April. It includes pre-recorded content and our facilitator streaming live to engage students in positive conversations and smash the stigma around mental health. The feedback we’ve received from young people, teachers and parents has been overwhelmingly positive and through this and our face to face programs we have reached 30,067 young people through our [email protected] programs alone!
Lived experience continues to be at the heart of batyr
We also had 147 young Aussies complete our Being Herd workshop where young people learn how to confidently and safely share their lived experience of mental ill-health. A further 81 young people went through Being Herd Pathways, which brings together elements of Being Herd but also teaches practical skills and gives confidence to young people trying to find work.
Bella Cini became batyr’s youngest Board director at 21
In another first for batyr, long-time speaker Bella Cini was appointed as batyr’s youngest Board Director at the age of just 21. We’re so excited to have such a brilliant and passionate young person take on this role and ensure we have young people represented at all decision-making levels of the charity. We had other young people in our Herd stepping up for opportunities to further amplify young voices and batyr’s message of hope and resilience by sharing their lived experience with the media. These brave young people included Tom Moiso, Zara Blackmore, Maddie Lee, Bec Bawden, Linh Dang and Yoosuf Mohamed.
Supporting international students mental health
We launched two new mental health programs designed specifically for international students, in partnership with Meld Community and with support from Study Melbourne. 2020 has been a year when Australia’s international student community have faced particularly unique and significant challenges and we knew there was more work to better support these young people, to tackle the mental health stigma so prevalent in these communities, and empower these students to take charge of their mental health.
Fundraising goes virtual, allowing us to reach 6,182 young people
Our usual fundraising events also required some quick thinking and adaptations so we could continue to engage the community to raise funds to ensure we could reach young people throughout the year. We turned our Run for the Herd event into a virtual festival, and had 551 people join us and raise an outstanding $70,807.17! Our annual Blue Tie Ball also went digital, streaming live from the ICC to supporters in their homes who raised an incredible $83,748! From these two events alone, we will be able to reach 6,182 young people across Australia with stories of hope and resilience, helping them and their communities know that mental health matters.
Our digital storytelling app launches in beta
Our ‘Amplified Voices’ project also skyrocketed and we launched the first version of our digital storytelling app to a small group of 100 young people to be road-tested. Designed in collaboration with over 500 young people, almost 100 service providers and industry experts, our app guides users to create and share safe, relatable and engaging content about how they have navigated tough times, whether it’s through art, music, video or writing. We’ve started by building for Apple iOS phones and we’ll be developing it for Android in the new year. All of this before our official launch to the public in March 2021.
Staying hopeful during 2020
It has become more important than ever for batyr to keep starting and continuing positive conversations around mental health through the lense of the challenges of 2020. The feelings of isolation and anxiety that this past year has brought are palpable for so many of Australia’s youth.
batyr’s positivity has kept us hopeful and grateful for the future and this has fueled the innovations we’ve achieved this year. The team has worked incredibly hard and blew my mind with their passion, commitment, energy and boldness to try new things. However, it’s the ongoing support from our community that has allowed us, and inspired us, to rise up to the challenges of the past year and to continue reaching young people across Australia.
We’re very grateful to the whole batyr community, from the board, to funders and supporters, our volunteer governance committees, our lived experience speakers, university and school chapters and all the incredibly compassionate group of young people that make the magic happen at batyr.
We’re looking forward to continuing to smash the stigma in 2021!
To help us continue reaching young people across Australia, donate to our Christmas Appeal today.