Where there’s a Will exists to bring color to lives.
To nurture and support young people in the Upper Hunter community.
A journey building skills and resilience.
Where There’s a Will is a not for profit charity established in the Upper Hunter in 2016 to address significant mental health issues facing the community.
The Foundation will do this by supporting schools to build positive learning communities that embed the teaching of resilience and wellbeing in their curriculum and in their schools.
While prevention is the primary focus of Where there’s a Will, it also seeks to assist in the treatment of mental health problems by improving awareness throughout the community of existing mental health services and increasing the number of qualified mental health first aid experts in the district.
- Fundraise and directly negotiate with relevant organisations to deliver recognised mental health programs from pre-school through to year 12.
- Fundraise for teachers and support staff to receive training and education on how to empower students to navigate life and flourish.
- Fundraise to provide nominated programmes focused on assisting those currently suffering from mental health challenges.
- Provide opportunities for parents to learn about supporting good mental health in their children.
- One in four young Australians aged 16–24 years has a mental disorder
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for males and females aged between 15-44. One person dies from suicide every four hours in Australia.
- The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030, depression will be the leading health burden globally
- Even among young people with the most severe mental health problems, only 50% receive professional help. This situation is more extreme in rural areas. Parents report that help is too expensive or they didn’t know where to get it, and that they thought they could manage on their own.
- Received ‘in principle’ support from 22 out of 24 schools in the Upper Hunter to convert to ‘Positive Education’ schools.
- Funded the delivery of Mental Health First Aid training to four teachers from Scone High School.
- Brought national organisation ‘batyr’ to the Upper Hunter to begin a conversation with more than 330 Year 11 & 12 students about mental health.
- Provided funding for Muswellbrook High School to ‘release’ teachers to conduct a mental health audit for their school and to develop a plan for the future.
- Will fund the delivery of Mental Health First Aid training to 30 teachers from 6 schools in November 2016.
Where There’s A Will was founded by the Carrigan family from Bunnan who were spurred into action after tragically losing 24 year-old son and brother Will to suicide on Christmas day last year.
“Until December 25 last year I was unaware of the complete devastation that can be brought about by mental health issues,” said his mother Mrs Pauline Carrigan. “I had a seemingly healthy and happy boy one day, the next he was gone.”
“As parents we’d been working to educate our kids on all the usual risks in life – drug, alcohol, cars, sex education – but we’d never even considered mental illness as being a threat to our family.
It didn’t take me long to find out that we are facing some significant challenges in regards to the mental health of youth in this area and when you scratch the surface it’s easy to understand why. Students in our schools have little or no access at all to counsellors, schools can’t afford to send teachers away to receive training on how to help build resilience in our kids and there are very few people armed with mental health first aid training.
Where there’s A Will is determined to improve this situation in our district and hopefully it is something that can then be rolled out to other regional communities facing similar challenges.
I now know that Will ticked every box for a man his age to be susceptible to suicide. Research also tells me that the foundations for young men to suffer mental health problems are laid when they’re around 12-14 year old. This means we absolutely have to get into our primary schools and make sure our teachers are given training to ensure our kids are resilient enough to bounce back from the challenges that they will inevitably face in life.
“While this is a very personal mission for me, the greatest tragedy is knowing that so many other families will endure our heartache unless we all work together to address this issue.”