Glen Innes Red Cross organises batyr visit

High School Principal, Adam Forrester, Annette Law, President, Glen Innes, Red Cross, Ben Teasdale, "batyr" at the Glen Innes Red Cross AGM.
High School Principal, Adam Forrester, Annette Law, President, Glen Innes, Red Cross, Ben Teasdale, "batyr" at the Glen Innes Red Cross AGM.

A mental health organisation will offer assistance to students at Glen Innes High School after a student took their own life recently.

The cooperation comes after the local Red Cross branch invited an organisation called batyr to address its members. 

High School Principal, Adam Forrester, also attended the meeting and gave a short address, and the result is a project to talk to students when school resumes and offer them help in addressing mental health issues.

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Teachers have been concerned about the causes of the tragedy and the effect it might have on friends of the victim, and other students.

The treasurer of the Red Cross branch, Val Lennan, said that they invited batyr because the school and the town had been very supportive of the Red Cross and they wanted to help in return.

“We are giving back to the community which has given such generous support”, she said.

One Red Cross member had a young relative who had suffered mental health problems and he was helped greatly by batyr.

Batyr describes itself as a “preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people.

“We smash the stigma surrounding mental ill health and empower young people to reach out for support. We help create communities that support young people’s mental health and wellbeing”.

It was founded seven years ago, by a student at the Australian National University who found himself feeling alone when he had mental health problems.

The worker who came to Glen Innes, Ben Teasdale, said the organisation sends in young people who have had their own issues to talk to students in schools to help them overcome any problems they may have. The batyr workers act as facilitators of discussion and inquiry about mental health. Their watch words, according to Mr Teasdale, are: “resilience, hope, courage”.

He said he wanted to “smash the stigma surrounding mental health”.

The people from his organisation would give advice on five topics: how to look for signs of mental health issues in yourself and others; how to open up and start talking about issues; listening to others;  to detect problems; “reaching out” for help from doctors and counselors; how to keep mentally healthy.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 (24/7 crisis support)

headspace: 1800 650 890