Helping Naracoorte locals bounce back with resilience

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By Kate Foreman

‘Bouncing Back with Resilience’ was the theme for this month’s Naracoorte Independent Learning Centre’s Youth Mental Health Festival.

The three-day festival attracted more than 1400 people to help promote positive mental wellbeing.

Naracoorte ILC campus manager Tammy Schinckel says the festival helped to break down stigmas and give local communities the opportunity to be proactive with their health.

“Mental health is a big issue for many people,” she says.

“At the ILC we offer health and wellbeing classes as part of our normal curriculum, as well as organising annual mental health forums, and this year a three-day festival around mental health.

“We have been fortunate to win a number of grants over the years from the Stand Like Stone Foundation, Arbonne Charitable Foundation and Ican to name a few and this has enabled us to run activities like the festival which are for the wider community and entire Limestone Coast region.”

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The Independent Learning Centre caters for disengaged young people where mainstream schooling isn’t working, as well as for others who want to return and finish their schooling.

“Since the ILC was taken over by the Naracoorte High School, it has become a well recognised education and community facility,” says Tammy.

“It benefits the community by providing educational options for people in obtaining their SACE regardless of age or any other barriers previously encountered.

“We provide a holistic approach to education, recognising that people go through ups and downs in life and sometimes need other support in order to achieve the educational goals they set for themselves.”

The ILC employs youth workers, as well as teachers to provide this holistic approach and each student is case managed and provided with their own individual timetable and has their individual issues or concerns addressed.

The setting allows students to take part in a number of SACE subjects which may not be offered in mainstream schooling; including community studies, health and wellbeing programs, and community garden and renovation rescue to name a few.

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Students also have the opportunity to visit Cambodia where they undertake volunteer work as a culmination of hours equivalent to a year 12 subject – this was achieved through grant money supported by the Stand Like Stone Foundation.

“Our very first Mental Health Forum was supported by Ican three years ago and provided the funding for us to create the newly established Naracoorte Community Hub,” says Tammy.

“A place where services can use consulting rooms in Naracoorte so the wider community can access the services that are often outreached from Mount Gambier.”

This month’s festival showcased a number of health and wellbeing workshops, guest speakers including ex-local and Australian stuntwoman Ky Furneaux and stalls aimed at young people with plenty of interactive activities.

For more information on the event and to see photos visit the Mental Health Festival 2017 Facebook page.

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