On Monday and Tuesday this week, Nic Newling spoke to staff, parents and the Year 10, 11 and 12 students, recounting his personal experience with mental illness through his high school years. Nic is an advocate for mental health, suicide prevention and sharing personal stories. Having lived through the experience of suffering with a mood disorder throughout high school and losing his brother to suicide, he has since dedicated himself to changing the way mental illness is addressed in schools, workplaces, and communities. Nic has reached millions of people through television, live talks, radio, print, online, documentaries, and eHealth programs. He strives to make a continuing positive impact, utilising sharing and listening to encourage helpful, unscripted conversations around mental health, suicide prevention, and getting the most out of life.
His personal story was very raw in places and provided a clear description of what it is like to suffer a mental illness, as well as the impact it can have on the person and those around them. He gave some very practical advice on what people can do to support those who are suffering from a mental illness and also the encouragement that there is help even though at times the road to improvement can be a long and painful one.
I would like to thank the parents who attended the evening session, and with over 150 present it was one of the best attended parent seminars we have held. I would also encourage any parent who is concerned about the wellbeing of their child to make contact with the School either through their Head of House, Head of Year 8 or directly with the Wellbeing Team of Liz Collins, Rebecca Sharkey, Melinda Pfueller, or our Chaplain Rev Phil Hoffmann.
For those of you who were unable to be there on the night, the ABC program ‘Australian Story’ covered Nic’s and his family’s journey with mental illness. You can view the story at Australian Story - Nic Newling.
Next week we host Pembroke School in the annual Winter Intercol. I know our students are looking forward to this day and, of course, for the Year 12 students this will be their last opportunity to compete in this event. The competition begins on Friday afternoon with Table Tennis, Girls’ Badminton and Girls’ Football and ends with the 1st XVIII Football match on Saturday afternoon. This is an event which brings the student population together to support each other in a large number of sporting contests and display genuine school pride. I wish all students all the best in their matches.
Head of Senior School