The staggering numbers around rising mental health issues in youth has been a topic of much concern, and Lauriston’s wellbeing program for Years 7–12 students (SHINE) is designed to encourage girls to develop a tool-kit of skills that they can draw upon when required and aims to build an embracing and inclusive community. 

Charlie Sutterby (Year 12) is passionate about wellbeing and wanted to demystify and destigmatise mental health. The SHINE program and the peer/mentor support system at Lauriston had been a ‘lifeline’ during her School journey, but Charlie wanted to help other students realise ‘it’s okay to admit you’re not okay’ and encourage them to reach out. 

Charlie realised this vision with the launch of Laurie’s Listening this year, an incredible week-long mental health initiative aimed at engaging, empowering and educating students and teachers. 

Every year level came together in Irving Courtyard at recess and lunchtime for mindfulness activities such as jigsaw puzzles, card games, colouring-in, chess and skipping led by SHINE reps, prefects and House Captains. We saw yoga in the morning, inspirational talks from Martin Heppell from the Resilience Project, a bake sale for Batyr and a lunchtime sausage sizzle for Walk for Women. Music, laughter and chatter filled the courtyard and the week culminated with a raffle with prizes from local businesses. 

Charlie said that if the initiative resonated with just one person and helped them reach out to someone in the School community, then she had achieved her goal. 

Laurie’s Listening was a potent reminder of the power of community and timely preparation for the challenges of COVID-19. It was also an example of how one individual can make a difference, if they have the passion, courage and resilience to put themselves out there and give it a go. 

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