League superstar delivers mental health message
Former NRL superstar Greg Inglis joined students from across Sydney’s west for a day of footy and fun, with a focus on youth mental health. Olivia Grey reports.
04 December 2023
Year 9 students had a strong finish to the year at Kimberwalli, the Aboiriginal Centre for Excellence, with a focus on their wellbeing and bright futures.
Footy and community combined to shine a light on wellbeing and mental health in young people, helping students connect to culture and learn about education support and career opportunities.
Hundreds of students from 18 schools across Blacktown, Penrith and the Hawkesbury gathered on Darug land to participate in Kimberwalli and Goanna Academy’s Combined High School Wellbeing and Careers Clinic.
Students were spoilt for choice, with football clinics, a careers expo and mental health chats with Goanna Academy members Greg Inglis, Cody Walker and Jakiya Whitfield.
Director of Kimberwalli, Kelly Stanford, was thrilled to see so many students come together to connect with culture, learn about the amazing career and study opportunities available to them, and open up about mental health.
“Kimberwalli was so excited to deliver this important initiative for Year 9 students across western Sydney," she said.
"We wanted them to finish this year feeling strong in their culture and empowered and excited about their future as they transition into Year 10, where they will make important decisions about their educational and employment journeys.
“Each student also received a Kimberwalli ‘Back to School’ kit to ensure they have everything they need in the classroom on day one of their Year 10 learning journey.
“I am so proud of how the Kimberwalli team was able to partner with 18 schools, teams across the Department, community organisations, universities and businesses to deliver such an amazing event to hundreds of students.
“From discussions on mental health with Greg Inglis to opportunities to connect with the Department’s Educational Pathways Programs team, local TAFE and universities, and of course the footy, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.”
NRLW player Jakiya Whitfield said the event provided opportunities for kids to look forward to their futures.
“It’s really important that students know that anyone can experience mental health challenges,” she said.
“It’s fantastic that we are able to use footy to engage students, and in turn reduce the stigma in seeking help for mental health if they need it, while also showing kids all they can achieve in their futures.”
The clinic was just one of many events and workshops Kimberwalli hosts to help support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reach their full potential.