FOUR hundred students at The Armidale School were united on Thursday morning to spell out very plainly an important message on mental health – RUOK?
The aerial message was an initiative of the school’s student chapter of batyr, an organisation focussing on youth mental health issues. Donating a gold coin for the cause for the privilege of wearing casual clothes, the students made it clear that mental health is everyone’s issue – not just on RU OK Day, but every day.
Oliver Mayhew-Sanders is one of more than a dozen student members of the chapter who regularly meet each week to discuss mental health initiatives in the school.
“At the start of each term we meet with batyr’s regional program coordinator Lucinda Nash and bounce around some activities we can do to eliminate the stigma about mental health,” he said.
“One of the things we are working on is a wellbeing app, where students can anonymously check in and log how they are feeling each day. The app then shows the results so students realise they are not alone in how they are feeling, and will also list the key school contacts in the area of wellbeing as well as have links to external support sites.”
He said it was pleasing current Year 9 and 10 students have taken ownership of the chapter to drive it into next year and beyond.
“Ultimately it’s about the issue not just being raised on special days like today, but every day. RU OK Day should be just another day on the school calendar.”
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