Spurred on to tackle big issues

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

It often takes just one spark to bring about change, and a Hedland Senior High School student has done just that as he tries to bring mental health awareness to Pilbara youth.

In October, Year 11 student Kauthar Farid, 16, attended Zero2Hero’s Camp Hero, where he learnt about leadership in mental health and how to support others.

Returning to Hedland, Kauthar embarked on a mission to spread awareness and change the culture around mental health, saying it was the story of Rhys Connor that made him begin his venture.

“At the camp we heard from Anita and Peter Miller whose son (Rhys) committed suicide in the Pilbara, which made me think about what there is for people my age here in the Pilbara and Hedland,” he said. “For me it was a promise to Anita and Peter to help them on their mission to break the stigma down and build a culture around healthy mental health.”

Kauthar approached his teachers, who helped him contact BHP and not-for-profit mental health organisation Zero2Hero.

“The main aim and mission is to build a mentally healthy culture by getting people on board and interested and knowledgeable in that area — from there we can start helping others,” he said. “To me, to start a change it needs to be with the kids.

“Obviously everyone needs to be involved, but we are the next generation who will keep on building and changing this culture.

“If we can start with primary school-aged people and do little things, we can grow with them and help them handle what life throws at them when they get into high school and adult life, where there are more complex issues to deal with on top of keeping mentally healthy.”

Kauthar said it was a surreal feeling bringing organisations together and making change.

“Anything can be achieved, all you need is a spark,” he said.

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