Students are the eyes and ears of the community…

14 Jan 2022

Talking about mental health Is powerful. Even just talking to eight students can make a difference. Those eight students have friends, families, colleagues, teammates and so much more. Preparing them, and helping them understand more about mental health problems could change a life.

That Is why the Country Universities Centre Macleay Valley, Gerald Hoskins, Baylin’s Gifts and Kempsey Suicide prevention have come together to run a Youth Mental Health First Aid to our university students for free.

Going to university Is a huge sacrifice. Students often balancing not only their study load, but work, social, sports and family commitments. For young people especially, you are learning how to be an adult which Isn’t easy. Having people around you that can support you Is critical to your success.

Gerald Hoskins and Hayley Hoskins have lived experience when It comes to the Impacts of mental health. In 2016, they lost their loved son Baylin to suicide while he was at university. After which they founded Baylin’s Gift, a charity committed to educating young people and their support networks on depression, anxiety, gender / sexual identification and suicide awareness.

In Kempsey we see the Impacts of mental health problems in all our community. A lot of the time we might as ourselves – how can we help? Talking about It Is the first step.

Gerald Hoskins facilitates this conversation In running Youth Mental Health First Aid courses. His aim Is to help the community understand and support when they see someone with a mental health problem.

On Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th of November eight students from the CUC Macleay Valley are getting qualified. This course will help students understand how to offer mental health first aid to young people, and most Importantly to understand the services on offer In the Kempsey community for people affected by mental health problems.

Gerald Hoskins said, “Running this important training for our community including our uni students means we have more eyes and ears available to support young people in our communities struggling with mental health. I often wonder had Baylin’s peers and friends have had this training they would have been able to support him during his lowest times.”

The course also brought Into context the services available In the Macleay Valley to our community.

Hayley Hoskins from Baylin’s Gift attended the course to talk to students about the support the charity offers. Her story shows her strength, resilience and passion for helping people when It comes to positive mental health.

Melissa Robinson from Kempsey Community Suicide Prevention spoke to the group about the support offered by her, and the Suicide Prevention Outreach Team. Melissa Is based out of the Macleay Vocational College and Is available to the community for assistance.

The following services offer telephone (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and online support:

Lifeline – 131 114 www.lifeline.org.au
MensLine – 1300 789 978 www.mensline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 www.kidshelp.com.au
For a complete list of services, visit www.suicidepreventionaust.org and select ‘Get Help’.

Providing wellbeing support Is a prioirty from the CUC Macleay Valler Board. In particular, from CUC Macleay Valley Chair, Liz Campbell.

“Our community face a lot of challenges, after the droughts and bushfires and floods, It has shown we have a lot of resilience. But having the tools In the grassroots of our community to support one another will help us overcome these challenges and support one another”, Ms Campbell said.

The CUC Macleay Valley has supported over 160 students since opening. This free Youth Mental HEalth First Aid Is on offer for all students registered to the Centre.

To find out more about the CUC Macleay Valley, please contact the Centre Manager, Kinne Ring, to learn about registering and how the CUC Macleay Valley can assist you and your studies at degrees@cucmacleayvalley.edu.au.

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