Students take action on mental health

WORLD boxing champion contender Luke Jackson welcomed Dominic College year 10 students to his gym last month for sessions on basic boxing skills, fitness routines and mental health inspiration.

Mr Jackson, who is a former Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games boxing team captain, will compete for the WBO world featherweight championship in northern Ireland later this year.

He shared his training techniques, as well as his struggles with mental health and OCD, offering students some ideas on how to cope with adversity.

The sessions were part of a week-long series of workshops with students on body image, addiction, mental health, yoga and self-defence.

It made up part of a special “Mental Health Week” initiative organised by year 10 leaders and the 7-10 Pastoral Care team at Dominic College.

Event initiator and college captain Maggie Baker said she hoped all students gained something relevant from the week that they could apply to their own lives.

“As well as Mr Jackson, our presenters from #notevenonce, StayChatTy and the Little Help Project were outstanding,” she said.

“Teenagers can’t help each other – they don’t have the experience or professional skills – but they can support each other.

“We can’t give advice but we can give support.

“When someone is struggling mentally it can feel like the world is against you, but when a friend tells you they are there for you, life gets a bit easier.”

Dominic College 7-10 Pastoral Care coordinator Aaron Davey said Maggie was driven to mirror the work done in the school’s EMPOWER Program.

“Last year, student leaders ran a very successful Relay for Life team of more than 120 students and raised nearly $20,000 for the Cancer Council,” he said.

“In 2018, the college captains were keen to introduce something new to Dominic College that would be fun but help them with practical advice.

“Maggie created ideas and options for speakers who were just right for each year level.

“The addition of lunchtime yoga, as well as breakfasts of pancakes and bacon and eggs, were a great way to get the balance right.”

Dominic College principal Beth Gilligan said schools needed to be proactive in supporting students to manage their mental health.

“The fact that students wanted to do this for themselves and their peers at Dominic was commendable,” she said.

“The same messages are being sent to our students – keep active and fit, stay connected with others, intentionally stay positive through mindfulness, constantly learn new skills and keep giving to others and the community.”

Caption: Dominic College year 10 students at Luke Jackson’s Action Fitness Centre.