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Zero to Hero Excursion

The early morning, all so tired, yet all so awake. The excitement spread as some year 9 students united as a group to travel on the train to Perth. The train was packed with people on the way to work and school, we could barely breathe! We were packed sardines! We all ran off the train in need of some space and walked the short journey to the Perth Concert Hall.

Once we arrived we were directed to a mental health ambassadors display alleyway, where we collected our freebies. The stress balls, wristbands, pens, and leaflets quickly filled up our bags. We also learnt things about different businesses and how they play their part in the mental health community.

We got to listen to so many inspirational speakers, it would be hard to write about all of them. A couple of the ones that had the greatest impact on me were. Nic Emmerson who is now disabled due to a fatal motor accident, and through his inspirational and heartfelt story, I learnt that we shouldn’t take anything in life for granted as life is too short and you don’t know when it could all be over. Besides, we take simple things for granted until they are gone. He has turned his misfortune into something truly amazing, not letting anything stop him from living life to the fullest, despite his disability. With his strong empowerment on “No limits”. His motivational video just shows how we even take talking for granted, as Nic has to use his iPad and a speaker to communicate, however, he shows us that his disability does not define him and that disability does not mean inability. Through his remarkable and eventful journey, he continuously pushes himself and proves himself through life and living with “No limits”.

Then there was Heath Black, former professional AFL player and now mental health ambassador. He talked about his past life poor habits; severe anxiety and depression and how he got out of the lowest point in his life to then live a better, happier life. He specifically spoke about the fear of failure and depression. It was a very personal, confronting and quite compelling story, but through this, we could see the pain that he would have been going through and how his actions had consequences on not only his life physically, but also mentally. He used his own experiences to motivate us, as the audience, to overcome or just help difficult situations, challenges, and obstacles that life throws at us. He spoke strongly about the importance of teamwork, leadership, accepting and learning from the past and recovering from rock bottom. He showed us how he channeled his emotions into his passion for AFL, as well as the downside of turning to alcohol and drugs to let off steam, eventually leading to violence, which he strongly enforced that it is not the answer to turn to those things. Struggling with mental health is a difficult thing, sometimes feeling impossible, but by speaking out Heath hopes to reach more people who are struggling in silence.

Overall, I learnt a lot from ‘In Your Head’ 2019 and it was very beneficial to hear and see other people’s real-life stories, as well as participate in many activities and be surrounded by only a small part of the mental health community. It was at this mental health forum where I realised that your life matters and it hit me that so many people who go through mental struggles and who are dealing with mental health. Thank you to Mrs. Kerins and Ms. Grey for giving us the opportunity to attend as well as looking out for us during the day, it was a life-changing experience and very informative event that I, and I’m sure everyone else, thoroughly enjoyed.

Written by Olivia Williams (Year 9)

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