‘This school gets it!’

Wayne Schwass, the former AFL footballer who lived with depression for 12 years in silence, was very positive about BGS and our attempts to deal with the tough issues at last week’s BGS parent seminar on mental illness. He started his presentation by declaring: “You are lucky. This school gets it. Yes, this school gets it!”

Wayne described his experience living with depression and anxiety – while simultaneously reaching the highest levels of success in football. He shared many important insights and lessons he learned along the way with the soundless audience of boys and parents.

Sam Loy from Headspace Elsternwick complemented Wayne’s very personal journey with some facts and stats about the symptoms and prevalence of mental illness in young people. During the question and answer session, it became obvious that parents wanted to know more about Headspace.

Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. It provides early intervention mental health services to 12–25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing. Its work covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support, and alcohol and other drug services. For more information, see www.headspace.org.au/

Depression is one of the most common health issues for young people in Australia.  Major depression is a mental illness characterised by feelings of sadness that last longer than usual. It affects most parts of your life and stops you enjoying the things you used to.

For young people, it is normal to have occasional mood swings, to feel irritable sometimes and to be sensitive to rejection or criticism. This can make it hard to tell whether you’re experiencing ‘normal’ feelings or whether you are becoming depressed.

Help at BGS

Our Student Services team includes a number of counsellors (including a careers counsellor) and psychologists – you can make an appointment or walk into the new Student Services area. Your son’s House Tutor and our School priests are also available to help. Just phone Reception in your section of the School to reach them.