PM speaks to students about mental health

Jodie Stephens - the Herald

 Scott Morrison has urged young people to seek help if they're ever struggling with mental health issues in a speech telling them "you matter".

The prime minister received an enthusiastic welcome when he and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addressed the Stand Tall youth event in Sydney on Wednesday.

He told students that 52 per cent of young people with a mental health issue were embarrassed to discuss it with anyone, and 49 per cent were afraid of what others thought.

Seven in 30 young people were dealing with mental health issues but only two would seek help.

"That's a great shame because there's heaps of help out there if you're having difficulties," Mr Morrison said.

He said they might think their challenges were small compared with what everyone else was dealing with, but they aren't.

"Why? Because you matter and the things that are affecting you matter," the prime minister said.

He urged them to seek the help of services like Kids Helpline, Headspace and Reachout if a friend was struggling.

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Taken from https://www.pm.gov.au/media/stand-tall-event-sydney below is Scott Morrison’s opening statement addressing 6,000 attendees at the Stand Tall Event 2019

PRIME MINISTER: How good is Gladys? Isn’t she great?

[Applause]

It's wonderful to be with you all today, and it's wonderful to see many of you. Are there any guys from the Shire here today?

[Applause]

Is there anyone from the Hills district, anyone from the Hills?

[Applause]

How about out in south western Sydney, down near Campbelltown way?

[Applause]

Are there any Sharks fans in the house?

[Applause]

I thought that’d get a mixed reaction, the Endeavour High School kids down here in Kirrawee I think there has been plenty.

The reason I wanted to come here today, and the reason I know Gladys wanted to come here today, and the reason Stand Tall - a bit croaky - and the reason Stand Tall is so important and the reason everyone else has come here today, to have a chat to you - and people get to chat to you today as adults - because they're going to talk about serious stuff. But the reason all of us have come here today is because you matter.

I want you to tap the person on either side of you and say, ‘You matter’. It’s really important because everyone believes you do matter. Ad you know sometimes, sometimes guys, sometimes you can feel that’s not true. Sometimes you can think, ‘I don’t matter, and the problems that I have are just too big, and no one cares, and no one thinks I matter’. And you can feel really small, and your problems can feel really big.

But what Stand Tall is all about is making sure that you know you matter. And in life, lots of things can be taken away from you. Lots of things. You can lose things, you can lose friends, you can lose money, you can... all sorts of things can happen. Sometimes you can lose your health.

But the one thing that can never be taken away from you - and this is really important to understand this - is your value. Your value as an individual human being, as a man, as a woman, as a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister. You matter very, very much.

Now, in coming here today, I thought I would ask a few organisations about some important lessons they would want me to share. And I must admit they’re the same things that I've also reflected on.

You know, in life you never come up against things where you where you don’t succeed. When you’re going to fail. It happens. In fact, if you don't have a go at something where you might fail, you'll never achieve anything at all.

You can play it safe always, but unless you’re prepared to have a go at the things where you might fail, and risk failing, then you'll never really fully understand how amazing you are - you wouldn't have any idea about how amazing you are.

I remember many years ago, I took a group of young people together with a good mate of mine from the other side of politics, Jason Clare, and we took some young people from the Shire and from Lakemba. And it was after the terrible riots that we'd seen down in our part of Sydney down in Cronulla, many years ago. And we thought the best thing to do was to get all of our young people together and try and help them understand how amazing they were and how wonderful Australia was and how that connected them together, despite their very different big differences. Whether it was their religion, or their background, or where they lived or how they grew up.

And so we went and walked the Kokoda Track together. And it took us six and a half days. And I can tell you, it was really, really hard. But over the course of that Track, what everyone understood was just how much more they could do. And how much more helpful they could be to each other. And the funny thing was that at the start of the Track, people were saying, ‘Well, how fit I am, how much can walk harder than the others’, and all the rest of it.

But by the end of the track, people weren't thinking about themselves. They were thinking about how much they can help their fellow walkers and their trekkers. And I remember one night in particular, we were coming down to a little village hall called Efogi, where they had seen terrible battles during the war. And it was pouring with rain, it was late at night, it was very dangerous trying to get down this… the side of this mountain, getting down to this little village.

And some of the trekkers were really, really struggling, and some of the stronger walkers had got down in earlier. And rather than just put their packs down and get in their tent and get a good rest for the next day, they dropped their pack. They walked back across the river, and they went back up the mountain, and they helped everyone else down.

And so when I saw this in these young people, helping each other, what I understood was, they were working out just how much was inside them. And all they had to do was focus less on themselves and more on others, and they really were able to work it out.

So a couple of things, a couple of pointers I give you, which has been given to me by some amazing organisations - which include organisations like Stand Tall - but also organisations like Kids Help Line and headspace, and a whole range of these organisations.

The first thing to do is don't be afraid to fail, and change the way you think about failure. If you haven't failed, you’ve learnt nothing. And when things failed, it's a matter of just looking at it as an opportunity to learn from that experience.

You know the first time I ever ran for politics, you had to do a thing called preselection. And that's where I got a whole bunch of party members together and they’ve got to decide who their candidate is going to be in the election. There was about 150 of them. I got eight votes. Eight votes, the first time I ran.

And what we did when that happened, I had to go home and tell Jen, ‘It didn't go terribly well.’ And I had to share with them that we'd put our lives on hold for a long period of time, to try and seek this opportunity, and it just didn’t come. But we learned from that and we didn't give up and we kept going forward.

So the first thing to do is if you encounter failure in your lives - because you will, and if you don’t, it means you're not trying things - then it's important not to see that as the end of the road, but importantly as the start of another road, and one you can walk tall on.

The second point I'd make to you is that what's good for your body, is good for your mind. Who likes to stay healthy? I'll tell you what, if you keep your body healthy, you can keep your mind healthy as well. And it's important that when you keep your mind healthy, you can stay positive on the things that when you're facing challenges in life.

So when it comes to keeping your body healthy, whether it's making sure you get enough sleep, whether you get your physical activity and your exercise, or you ensure that you eat well and you know... it's all right and have fun every now and then. That's all good. But at the same time, if you can keep your body healthy, it means you can keep your mind healthy. Because you’re confronting lots of things.

Now Gladys and I have really stressful jobs. And you guys all face your own stresses and challenges. So one of the things I do is I try and swim most days. You'll find me down at the Caringbah pool, or the North Sydney pool, or anywhere I can find a pool - and yep, I do wear the Speedos, so I don’t let the cameras in. Ever. That's never happened guys, it's never going to happen.

[Laughter]

But it's important that you take the opportunity to get your regular exercise, and look after what you're doing with your body each and every day. If you keep a healthy mind and a healthy body, you will be able to confront the challenges that you face.

And the last point I wanted to make to you is this - you're never on your own. Who's ever felt like they've been on their own before? Just you? I have, heaps of times. If you haven't got your hand up, I think you’re telling the truth.

At all stages, we're going to feel like we're on our own in the middle of facing something at some time. You know, 52 per cent of young people - this is an important statistic - 52 percent of young people who say they have a mental health problem are embarrassed to discuss the problem with anyone, and 49 per cent are afraid of what others would think.

Half the people in this room, if you're suffering from a mental illness, or mental anxiety, or something like that, don't believe you can get help. And you also believe that others will think differently of you if you do.

Of every 30 young people - I heard from batyr yesterday - about seven of them will be dealing with issues of mental health. Only two of them will seek help. And that's a great shame, because there's heaps of help out there if you're having difficulties, and you're really struggling to come to terms with the challenges that you're facing in your own life.

And you might think, ‘Well, those challenges are small compared to what everyone else is dealing with.’ But they're not. Why? Because you matter, and the things that are affecting you matter. And if you're dealing with those anxieties and those challenges, or you don't understand why you feel the way you feel, when you can't get up out of bed, when you can't motivate yourself to do the things that you see like all the other kids can do, or you're having difficulties at home and you can't understand why and you're really frustrated about it. These are all things that you can get help with and you can call Kids Helpline.

And who's got their phones with them at the moment? Anyone got their phones with them at the moment? I want you to jot some numbers down in your notes on your phone. OK? Because I’m going to tell you why in a sec. I got this tip from batyr yesterday. Here it is - Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800. Who’s heard of Kids Helpline? Put your hands up. Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800. Headspace, who’s heard of headspace? We’ve all heard of headspace? Good - 1800 650 890. Then there’s reachout.com, beyondblue.org.au, and of course there’s the 000 number.

Now, I want you to make me a promise. All of those numbers, if you didn’t hear them now, go and look them up later. Just check it out on your phone while you’re checking Facebook, and Instagram, and all the other things. And make sure if you’re talking to a friend, and that friend is telling you the things that I've just been talking to you about - that they don’t feel right, or they don’t know how to cope in a situation, or they’re finding it really hard to deal with things, whether at homes or other circumstances.

You may not have those answers to them at that point. You may be the best friend - and I'm sure you are - but you won’t always be equipped to deal with those questions that are posed by friends. And batyr - this wonderful organisation Greg Hunt had the opportunity to go and meet with yesterday - that is the time that you put your phone on speaker and you dial one of those numbers. And you and your friends, standing with your friend, standing tall with your friend, can go and have a chat with a trained counsellor to make sure you can deal with the things you need to deal with.

So look, it’s been great to have the opportunity to come and speak to you this morning. Just remember what we just talked about - you matter. Who matters in this room? You matter. And because you matter, tell your friends, because you matter, what’s happening to you matters. And as a result, you need to make sure you deal with failure in a positive way. Because if you don't fail at something, it means you've never tried something. And you need to keep your mind and body well, and you need to know you're never alone, because there is always help there for you - whether it’s through one of the professional services or through each other.

So I hope you have a great day. I want to thank all the other speakers who have come together to be with you today. I want to wish all the guys from Endeavour and Kirrawee all the best, they’ve put on an amazing performance up here a little earlier today, that’s going to rock the place amazingly. So how good will they be? I hope you have a great day. Have a good one. Cheers.