By Rebecca Riddle, The Standard
“EVERY community has the ability to shift their mental health towards a more positive direction.”
That was the message from The Resilience Project founder Hugh van Cuylenburg at Warrnambool’s Wannon Rooms on Tuesday night.
Schools, sporting clubs, parents and players filled the 400 seats at the Koroit Street venue for a 90-minute address aimed at teaching positive mental health strategies.
“Mental health is a community responsibility,” Mr van Cuylenburg said.
“Especially in regional areas.”
The sold-out event was the handiwork of Merrivale footballer Alister Porterwho heard Mr Van Cuylenburg’s message in Melbourne earlier this year.
Mr Porter said the message behind Mr Van Cuylenburg’s teachings was simple.
“Hugh’s story is a good story. It’s about training yourself not to get so down,” he said.
“And its also about learning the skills to help stay happy.”
The Resilience Project’s motto is ‘teaching young Australians to be mentally healthy’.
It has joined teaching programs in over 300 schools Australia-wide.
The NRL, Cricket Australia, The Australian Netball team and 11 AFL sides have also implemented its teachings.
The focus of Mr van Cuylenburg’s teaching is gratitude, mindfulness and empathy.
He has learnt these elements from his experience as a teacher and from life-changing travel to India in 2008.
“I was based in a community that had so very little yet were so resilient,” he said.
“I have learnt that in 21 days you can start to shift the way that your brain perceives events taking place around you.
“You will certainly start to shift your mental health in 21 days.”
Mr van Cuylenburg said he hoped Warrnambool gained new teachings from his visit.
”I hope that people will walk away from this talk with practical strategies to shift their mental health,” he said.
“I hope to be coming back to Warrnambool and hopefully real soon.”