It’s coming to the end of our first full year of operation and what has been accomplished is a little beyond our wildest dreams.  Thanks to the extraordinary fundraising efforts and the willingness of so many in the Upper Hunter to step up and meet the challenge of mental illness, the past 12 months has seen:

  • Eighteen year 11 & 12 students from the five Upper Hunter high school travel to St Peters School in Adelaide for a Leadership Summit based on Positive Education principles
  • Those students then hosting Leadership Summit’s in their own schools, spreading the word of Positive Education.
  • 23 teachers travel to Sydney for the Positive Education Schools Association annual conference
  • 34 teachers complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Positive Education) through Melbourne University with lectures delivered in Muswellbrook
  • 6 schools complete their first year (of three) implementing the Bounceback! Programme, with the impacts of this to be studied by the Australian Catholic University’s Institute of Positive Psychology
  • 360 people complete fully accredited Mental Health First Aid training, with courses held in Muswellbrook, Denman, Merriwa, Aberdeen, Scone and Murrurundi
  • The success of the pilot programme for Year 10 Teen Mental Health First Aid training ensure that it is likely to become a compulsory part of Year 10 curriculum for all high schools in the Upper Hunter from next year
  • 150 Year 8, 9 & 10 students from all five high schools participate in the Burn Bright leadership programme in Scone
  • 20 GPs and Practice Nurses from across the Upper Hunter complete advanced training in suicide prevention
  • 120 people from all sectors of the Upper Hunter participate in an Appreciative Inquiry Summit focusing on how we can create change to wellbeing based on the strengths that already exist in this community
  • A network of Upper Hunter Principals and educators meet every 8 weeks to collaborate on initiatives to promote student wellbeing
  • The Upper Hunter dominate (ie provide 64% of responses despite only representing 4% of the population covered) a Federal Government survey to determine the allocation of resources and funding to improve mental health and reduce mental illness
  • The Upper Hunter become the first of four areas to xyz as a result of their responses to the survey

In addition to this Where there’s a Will has:

  • presented at the Federal Government Inquiry into the Prevention of Youth Suicide
  • been in consultation with the Primary Health Network to develop a plan to replicate the approach the Upper Hunter is taking to mental wellbeing in other communities

AND THEN, there’s the extraordinary events happening in the community that are encouraging conversations about mental health: the cricket days, the golf days, the rugby fundraisers, those incredible Where there’s a Will socks, the Group 21 Rugby League round, the Ravensworth dump truck, the Show Society Balls, the rodeos, the cake stalls, the wedding present donations, the trivia nights, the quiz nights, the Gratitude days in schools, the dress up days, the race days, the jockey silks.

And we’ve plenty more planned for 2018 & beyond!

So while the impact of all this work might not be fully seen for several years we think everybody in this community deserves a huge congratulations for starting the wheels of change turning and for not sitting around relying on others to take action.