Sydney high school students to raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing through public speaking competition

Students tackle mental health public speaking challenge

May 2019

Sydney high school students to raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing through public speaking competition

Sydney high school students to raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing through public speaking competition

Are you a Sydney high school student - or a teacher - who’s ready for a challenge?

Each year, Sydney Local Health District runs a Mental Health Public Speaking Challenge - with a twist.

Students, from schools within the District, research a mental health and wellbeing topic and present their talk in front of a supportive audience.

“We’ve been impressed with the high-level of knowledge, empathy and passion that students who participate have shown,” said Danielle Pretty, a Clinical Nurse Consultant at SLHD who works with children who have a parent who’s experienced a mental illness.

Now in its sixth year, the Challenge is a way for students to gain greater understanding and awareness about mental health, to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, and to make a positive difference to their school community.

“It’s exciting to see how the Challenge has grown. Students have really embraced the opportunity to learn about mental health and some have also taken steps to make changes in their schools,” Danielle said.

In 2018, a team from Saint Ursula’s College at Kingsgrove, in southern Sydney, won the Challenge and took home the coveted trophy.

One of the school’s English teachers, Mark Markovic, said a team of Year Nine girls talked about ways to improve the mental health of students at school.

“I was so proud of them. It was a great experience. It heightened their awareness about mental health,” Mark said.

The team later performed their presentation for younger students and set up a mental health awareness day at school.

“It’s incredibly important for students to be comfortable talking about these sorts of issues. It showed the girls the power of having an open discussion,” he said.

SLHD would like to help start these conversations in your high school too. Take up the Challenge!

There is a team training session for students in early June and this year’s competition will be held in September.

To sign-up, or for more information, please email danielle.pretty@health.nsw.gov.au

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Page Last Updated: 02 May, 2019