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Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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headspace Canberra giving back to final year school students

headspace Canberra is giving back to Radford College and Melrose High School students, after their efforts raising money in this year’s Push-Up Challenge.

The national event invites people to fundraise and pledge to do a certain number of push-ups, either individually or in a group, over 21 days.

Both schools had teams participating in this year’s event and will now receive wellbeing packs and an in-school workshop on mental health and stress management.

headspace Canberra coordinator Tracey Boomer said she was looking forward to giving back to the students after their hard work.   

“What we decided to do was set up packs for Melrose Year 10 and Radford Year 12 students and we chose those schools because they fundraised for us,” she said.

“We thought it was really essential for Year 10 and 12 students, considering the stresses they would already be feeling towards the end of their schooling on top of the bushfires and now COVID-19.”

The number of push-ups in the event is reflective of the number of deaths by suicide in the year prior, with 3,046 push-ups challenged this year. 

The challenged raised over $47,000 for headspace Canberra.

Shruti Christian was one of three University of Canberra occupational therapy students to help create the wellbeing packs, which aim to provide sensory stimulation, promote self-care activities, and raise awareness for mental health.

The ‘we’ve got your back’ packs are filled with a range of things to de-stress final year school students during the difficult time. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

“It includes things like an eye mask to promote sleep, a webcam cover for security because every student at the moment is using an electronic device,” she said.  

“We also have a hot and cold pack for sensory stimulation is very important.”

The packs were made in consultation with headspace’s Youth Reference Group (YRG), to ensure the initiative was addressing key concerns. 

Ms Christian said the UC students consulted younger students they knew when creating the packs and worked with the YRG every step of the way.

“A couple of years ago we were in the same position as these students and I still keep in contact with younger students through my sisters and friends,” she said.

“We actually did ask them what they would like to see in a pack like this or tell them our ideas which was great because we didn’t want to include things and not have the students use it.” 

In addition to the wellbeing packs, headspace will also be presenting speakers from the Positivity Project and Mind Blank at each school.

“We are going into the schools with workshops focused on tools, tips and techniques for stress management and dealing with change in relation to COVID,” Ms Boomer said.

“We hope the students will feel supported considering how difficult this year has been. When you are finishing your studies it’s stressful enough.”

headspace hopes to roll out the initiative this month, depending on health advice regarding COVID-19.

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