Nic Newling has dedicated his life to speaking about mental health and his message was clear when presenting at Newhaven College last week; “it is ok to talk about these things”.
He shared his personal story about his own battle with mental illness throughout secondary school, his eventual diagnosis with a bi-polar mood disorder and the suicide of his brother Christopher.
275 students in Years 9-11 listened intently to Nic’s honest account of his life and how he considered suicide as a teenager. Nic also conducted a staff workshop followed by a public presentation in the evening that was attended by over 150 parents and community members.
During the student session, Nic gave practical advice of what to do if someone they know are experiencing a mental health issue. These included:
- Involving the school, family & friends
- Asking without judgment
- Sharing stories to help reduce stigma
- Utilising empathy
- Seeking help and sticking with it
- Changing the approach if things don’t work
- Building a team around you
Our students were moved, inspired and empowered by Nic’s candid presentation that gave them ‘permission and confidence’ to talk about mental health. Their concerns and ideas will be followed with further programs as well as linking students and families to the helpful resources.
Our Principal, Gea Lovell, was delighted with the way in which Nic’s message was received. “Our aim in bringing Nic Newling to Newhaven College supports the belief that the responsibility for the well-being of our community needs to shift from solely clinical and mental health services to the community as a whole…it is about encouraging people to speak up and to ask for help, and it is about helping others to listen.”
We thank Island Bay Ranch for their generosity in sponsoring Nic’s visit.