28 April 2020, Australia – Youth mental health organisation batyr has delivered its first digital Being Herd workshop in response to physical distancing requirements amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Being Herd is a two-day workshop that brings together a small group of young people (aged 18-30) and teaches them how to safely share their lived experience with mental ill-health. By sharing their story with their peers, they are able to build their confidence and recognise that their experience is worthy of sharing. Ultimately, the workshops help to reduce the stigma of mental health and empowers young people to get support when they need it.
For the safety of participants and to ensure the workshop was run effectively, batyr made adjustments so the program delivery fit an online setting.
Three young people from Sydney and three from Melbourne joined in on the digital workshop last month, along with two batyr facilitators and a youth support person, a mental health professional who is available for one-on-one support over the two days.
According to a survey conducted after the workshop, all six participants believed their story was worthy of being heard, felt confident sharing their story and believed their story had the power to have a positive impact.
“I felt so much more willing and comfortable sharing my experience given that I was in my own personal space, and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to connect with different people due to the workshop being online,” said Christian, one of the participants from Melbourne.
“I feel so much more equipped to tell my story and the supportive nature of the online workshop is to thank for that.”
batyr has since delivered its digital workshop to a group of 6 young people in QLD with similarly positive feedback survey results.
“It’s incredible that we were able to have such a positive impact and connect so strongly to a group of young people despite the physical distancing requirements,” batyr Being Herd Program Manager Rob O’Leary said.
“Being Herd at the heart of batyr’s work and we’re thankful that technology will allow us to continue running these important workshops during this lockdown.”
batyr remains focused on face to face connection and sharing stories, and the organisation has adapted to the lockdown to continue the mental health conversation with young people.
“This is a tough time for so many and the team has worked hard to provide innovative solutions in the face of adversity to ensure that young people are still front and centre of our work,” batyr CEO Nic Brown said.
“We want to ensure that these workshops remain accessible and free to all young people.”
For more upcoming dates, and to register your interest to attend, visit batyr.com.au/being-herd/.