Werribee Rotary, in conjunction with Beyond Blue, recently conducted a very successful Youth Mental Health Forum.

150 people were in attendance including the Under 18 teams from Hoppers Crossing and Werribee Districts Football Clubs in addition to students from MacKillop College. The two football teams subsequently competed in a football game playing for the Beyond Blue Cup.

The basic purpose of the forum was to tell the young people in the room that, if they are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression, there is support and all they need to do is reach out.

There were a couple of excellent speakers including:
  • Todd Morgan from Outside The Locker Room, an organisation which provides mental health education and welfare support to sporting clubs, schools and the workplace.
  • Tom Downie who played AFL football with the GWS Giants between 2012 and 2016. He told the audience about the downward spiral of inadequacy he experienced as a footballer during this time. It reached breaking point when, in 2017, he stood before his teammates and officials to tell them of his decision to retire due to mental health problems.

After he left GWS, Tom sought help from Beyond Blue. As part of his rehabilitation, he now speaks very openly about his challenges at public forums. His message is simple – if you are not OK, speak to someone about your problems, whether it’s your parents, a friend, a doctor or a professional counsellor.

Werribee Rotary was proud to be involved in this project and hopes that it will help young people in the community to come to terms with an issue that is too often ignored.

The photo above show the captains of the two football teams displaying the Beyond Blue Cup.