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School-based mental health program promised $2.8 million in push to ‘smash stigma’
Katherine O’Chee | 승인 2019.06.13 12:40

The federal government has pledged $2.8 million to support a school-based program designed to encourage more young people to talk about mental health issues and seek help.  

The funding commitment will enable preventative mental health organisation batyr, launched in 2011 by a university student struggling silently with mental illness, to expand its online presence. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said batyr adopts an innovative approach to early intervention through “safe and effective” storytelling in schools. 

“This is a program for young people, designed by young people,” Mr Morrison said in a statement. 

“This will help batyr deliver front-line services and coordinate the right interventions for at risk young people. 

“batyr and their approach is part of our vision for tackling the mental health challenges facing young Australians that is a key focus of my government,” he added.

Approximately one in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experience mental illness a year. 

But only 23 per cent of Australians access support for mental health issues, said batyr general manager Nic Brown, who added that “the digital platform will … build on the peer-to-peer model, which is still the most effective way to smash the stigma around mental health”. 

Founder Sebastian Robertson named batyr, which translates as “hero”, after The Talking Elephant from Kazakhstan, as he sought to use the platform to promote open and honest conversations around youth mental health through the sharing of lived experiences.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said batyr will help deliver quality frontline support and coordinate interventions for people at risk.

“There are more pressures on young people today than ever before and we are committed to ensuring young Australians can get information, advice, counselling or treatment, when and where they need it,” Mr Hunt said. 

The funding commitment forms part of the Morrison government’s larger $503.1 million suicide prevention plan which focuses on initiatives for young and Indigenous Australians.  

Katherine O’Chee  edit@hanhodaily.com

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