Young Carers Central Stories

Good Friends Help us bounce Back

Life is full of ups and downs and we all need our friends to help us stay strong and cope better.

Community Development Officer for Mental Health, Bev Denley, based at Sunflower House in Wagga Wagga, (Phone 0422371322) is very impressed with a group of "good friends" from Ungarie. She reports......

"When a group of friends is facing the destruction of their much loved bush life style because loggers with chain saws aew coming to clear the area, life becomes very stressful for each of them.

The friends find their usual coping strategies just aren't working!

Relationships and well being are strained as each of the friends faces the prospect of becoming homless.

This group of friends isn't just the usual group of people, infact they're not people at all!

The friends are a close knit group of animals.....quirky, little turtle who is very depressed, a feisty koala with anger issues, an overworked mother quoll who is exhausted and can't think straight, a fragile emu recovering from an eating disorder, an anxiuos kangaroo preoccupied with obsessively cleaning her pouch and an enthusiastic wombat, who has lots of great ideas but is living with wild mood swings.....

These six animals remind us that "tough times" we need our friends more than ever....because with the support  of friends we can usually think more clearly and get the help we need to see us through.

That was the message from six talented Ungarie Central School students:
Koala (Jade McKay), Emu (Rhianne Forrest), Kangaroo (Tanikah French), Quoll (Renae Bradley), Wombat (Louise Hunter) & Turtle (Jamie-Lee Mant) who researched their play "Battle for the bush" for the Dramatic Festival jheld in Wagga Wagga recently.

With the giudence of their very enthusiastic teacher, Brony Mason, the students from Ungarie Central School used the animal characters in their play to explore some very challenging mental health issues. For example. We now know that one in seven new mothers experiences post natal depression. Many of these new mothers experiences post natal depression. Many of these new mothers struggle on without treatment, when what they really need to do is go along to their doctor so that their treatment may begin.

good friends help us bounce back play

In the play each animal learned an important lesson in maintaining their social and emotional well being (another term for "mental health').

They Reminded us that most of us experience mental health problems in our lives, and when we do, there is no shame in reaching out for the help we need.

Having mental health problems doesn't mean you are a `bad person', or mentally defective or stupid, because the latest information released by The World Health Organisation (part of The United Nations) says that one in four of people on the planet WILL have a mental health issues during their lives.

The most important thing you can do when sy,ptons persist for more than a couple of weeks is get along to your doctor and talk honestly about how things are for you.

Early intervervention and support are very important for recovery!

The Dramatic Minds Festival is an important opportunity for secondary school students to engage with mental health issues.

I think the students at Ungarie should have the last word on the subject and tell us what the esperience of Dramatic Minds has taught them.'

"It was fun and an easy way to learn about a difficult topic. "Rhianne Forest

"I really enjoyed the experience and learned alot. "Louise Hunter

"It was fun and it was great when people laughed at my character! "Jamie Lee Mant

"It was a great experience and everyone was really helpful and nice to us!" Tanikah Fenech

"I had a really enjoyable time at Dramtic Minds 2010. It's great to know that the audience is enjoying what you're doing, and I really can't wait `til next year! 'Jade McKay

"Dramatic Minds has been fantastic for our girls. It has provided them with an opportunity to use their (considerable) dramatic talents in public, as we don't have formal Drama classes in secondary at our school. It has also been a character building exercise throughout, requiring persistence to deal with a difficult topic until a workable story line evolved, learning lines and conquering nerves on stage.

The success of their performance and the positive feedback they received was a massive boost for their confidence and has certainly made all the hard work worthwhile!"

We would like to thank our teacher, Mrs Mason, for helping us in Dramatic Minds, making the costumes and putting up with us on the long drive to and from Wagga!