Published on August 8th, 2014 | by St Peter's College


Going beyondblue

There is too much negative rhetoric about Generation Z born between 1994-2004: lifelong user of instant messaging, self-centred or digital natives. They are often dismissed. I reject this view.

However, this week I had pause to think as I read reports about the Resilient Youth Australia’s report on the mental health of young people. A not-for-profit organisation promoting the mental health of young people across Australia.

This study surveyed more than 1,600 students from Years 4 through to Year 12. I was taken aback to read that one in three boys reported that they were constantly under strain, while a quarter recorded they had issues with confidence. Experts including Andrew Fuller has called for a national campaign of raising the overall level of resilience of our young people and Associate Professor Jane Burns echoed concern about Australia’s students’ lack of skills to cope with life’s problems.

We must encourage more educators and schools to adopt whole school wellbeing strategies and scientifically informed positive education programs that focus on building resiliency competencies: self-awareness, optimism, strengths and connection.

Involving Gen Z is the first step. Our young people are the key to solving these challenges, not problems to be fixed. This week at St Peter’s College I was inspired by the bold leadership of our School Captain, Darcy Kraljev, and Vice-Captain James Lanthois to create their “Going beyondblue” round of sport.

A united front of over 570 boys and staff from St Peter’s College, Adelaide, will wear blue armbands to signify their support of going beyondblue to raise awareness about the impact of anxiety and depression on men and highlight resources for recovery, management and resilience.

It is evident by the support of their peers that the boys project has capture the imagination of their peers and captured the admiration of others from around the globe.

If there is any generation that will turn the tide of the World Health Organisation’s prediction that depression will be the No. 1 global disease burden by 2030, surpassing heart disease and cancer it will be this one.

Darcy and James’ perseverance to pay it forward gives me hope for what will be a bright future for this generation to continue its positive impact and change the world for the better so that we can go beyond blue, literally.

Generation Z will improve the world in a way that you and I can only imagine. Never before have we seen a generation so connected virtually and willing to contribute to improving a fragile planet. I look forward to their next step.

Simon Murray

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