High school holds concert for youth week as mental health charity returns

Kathryn Luxford.
Kathryn Luxford.

It's the elephant in the room for Glen Innes youth.

Deputy principal Helen Millar said the school used youth week, which was also the last week of term one, to help build the mental health resilience of their students.

For the second year in a row, Glen Innes high school students received training by Batyr, a Sydney based mental health charity "giving a voice to the elephant in the room".

She said teachers learned a thing or two as well.

"Quite often teachers underestimate that they are basically a gateway for Students to a lot of other services.

"They see students quite a bit when you start to add up the hours in a day," she said.

"(It's about) being able to have that conversation, noticing that there's a change in a child, and feeling confident to at least approach the conversation and to know that if they don't open up the first time just continue to check in with them."

Batyr recruits student who've actually faced mental health challenges to speak to other students about their experiences.

One of the big comments Helen heard was how important that was.

"It's great to talk to real people not just to read a scenario," they told her.

"And to know that I can go up and talk to them at the end."

The event, which is separate from youth week but run at the same time, is funded by the Red Cross. They also funded a community event, held last Wednesday. This year they focused on giving kids the skills to look after their mates.

Helen Millar said the Batyr trainers will be back next year as well.

She said it was exciting to have Emma Davy, the council's new youth worker, working with the school.

"(Students are) excited about the fact that they have somebody who is coordinating all of that who's been really visible," said Ms Millar.

"A lot of them knew her as as a teacher so when she came to the assembly and introduced all the other activities, it was somebody that they already felt they had a bit of a relationship with and I think that's been a real positive"