LIVINWell program aims to normalise the conversation

The Gold Industry Group and LIVIN are embarking on their third national tour to empower students across Australia to speak up on mental health challenges.

Approximately one-in-two Australians experience mental illness over the course of their lifetime. Research also suggests that less than 50 per cent of people experiencing mental illness will access professional support.

Those in rural and lower socio-economic areas are particularly at risk, which requires the community to work together to support each other and normalise the conversation.

Research released by headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation in January this year found young people in critical age groups (12 to 14 and 18 to 21) are reporting significant increases in feelings of isolation.

The findings – revealing a substantial increase since the data was last recorded in 2018 – come as young people in these age groups enter a transitional period in their lives with returns to school, study or work.

Many young people ages 12 to 14 will be starting secondary school for the first time, while those ages 18 to 21 may be starting the shift into further study or work.

Clinical Practice executive director at headspace Vikki Ryall says young people in these age groups may need additional support as the impacts of COVID-19 are still being felt.

“The move to secondary school from primary or from school into further study or the workforce can feel quite daunting for young people in any instance and COVID has now added extra complexity,” Ryall says.

“It’s worrying to see young people in these age groups recording increased feelings of isolation.”

From August this year, The Gold Industry Group and LIVIN will embark on their third national tour to empower students across Australia to speak up and provide much needed practical tools on mental health through more than 80 relatable workshops.

Announced at this year’s Gold Industry Group and Deloitte annual breakfast at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum, the Gold Industry Group LIVINWell School Tour will visit schools in the regions Gold Industry Group members operate in across Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

LIVIN is an Australian charity founded on the Gold Coast in honour of Dwayne Lally, who took his life after living in silence from a mental illness.

In June 2017, the Gold Industry Group held member and community workshops in Perth and Kalgoorlie with LIVIN founders Sam Webb and Casey Lyons, to break down the stigma attached to mental illness and give people the basic tools to seek help and help others.

The Gold Industry Group also collaborated with City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder to produce a short film, where the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Youth Council interviewed LIVIN founders who shared a message of strength to the young people of the Goldfields.

This short film was screened for the first time at the 2017 Mental Health Week WA Opening Ceremony held in Kalgoorlie and has played been played throughout schools in region.

In 2019, the Gold Industry Group in partnership with LIVIN embarked on a national tour in March and April of that year to bring LIVINWell workshops to member offices, mine sites, schools and the wider community across Australia to help break the stigma often associated with mental illness.

The school sessions have received overwhelming positive feedback.

Delivering more than 50 LIVINWell workshops across Australia during those months, the tour reached more than 1400 people and as a result, the program was extended.

Visiting member offices and sites, as well as local schools and the community, the relatable sessions sharing lived experience and practical tips have received overwhelming positive feedback.

LIVIN co-founder and chief executive officer Casey Lyons says it has been incredibly rewarding to partner with the Gold Industry Group to further their positive impact and highlight the importance of mental health education.

“We have educated over 80,000 people since 2013 and thank Gold Industry Group enormously for their contribution to this figure and helping us continue to smash the stigma of mental health,” she says.

“Mental health is a positive concept that is sometimes misunderstood. It is about wellness rather than illness and relates to feeling resilient, enjoying life and being able to connect with others.

“LIVIN is launching a generational change. It’s all about living your life at the top and encouraging one another to talk about their feelings and challenges.”

LIVINWell is the charity’s evidence-based 45-minute mental health education program that has been developed and reviewed by qualified psychologists and is delivered by LIVIN’s certified facilitators all around Australia.

Gold Industry Group executive officer Rebecca Johnston says the power of LIVIN’s program is in connecting with their audience through their relatable brand, by sharing lived experience and providing practical tools.

“LIVIN are relatable, everyone walks out of a session feeling connected, supported and empowered, knowing they are not alone and embracing their mantra ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’,” Johnston says.

“The Gold Industry Group are proud to continue to partner with mental health charity LIVIN to ensure thousands of students across Australia are given the tools and encouragement they need to help themselves and their mates.”

Since establishing their partnership in 2017, the Gold Industry Group and LIVIN have completed two tours, successfully connecting, supporting and empowering gold industry workers, their families, friends and members of their local community to speak up, seek help and help others.

The LIVINWell workshops will equip students with conversational strategies to drive stigma reduction, knowledge to identify warning signs and symptoms of mental health challenges, strategies to help friends or family at risk or struggling, strategies to help themselves including coping, resilience and stress management, and information on when and where to go to get professional help.

This story also appears in the September issue of Safe to Work.

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