Eyre Peninsula youth hear mental wellness message

LIFE LESSON: Matt Runnalls displays one of his messages on the big screen at Youthoria Cinema.
LIFE LESSON: Matt Runnalls displays one of his messages on the big screen at Youthoria Cinema.

Eyre Peninsula students have heard first hand the importance of self worth, handling emotions and being prepared for the worst from one of Australia’s most renowned mental health advocates.

Matt Runnalls of Mindfull Aus met with students from Port Lincoln, Cummins, Elliston and Streaky Bay last week to share his story and life lessons.

This included sessions at Youthoria on September 3, attended by about 200 students from Navigator College and St Joseph’s School.

Mr Runnalls has lost six of his friends to suicide, has attempted suicide four times in his life and had a brief stint of homelessness.

However, in the past six years Mr Runnalls has used his own experiences to encourage others to feel comfortable to speak up and manage their wellbeing, just as he continues to do.

Bad days are coming, we should be preparing our kids to be equipped to face those unknowns in a positive manner.

Matt Runnalls

Mr Runnalls said he had tried to teach people emotional intelligence, about trying to nurture their systems in a natural way so they could not only feel all of life’s emotions, but also enjoy them.

“I’m giving them tools, techniques and solutions to feel self worth, purpose and belonging,” he said.

Mr Runnalls said it was important to ensure young people did not walk into the unknown.

He said people should also ask themselves what age was suitable to teach these lessons to children, as he lost one of his friends to suicide at the age of 12.

“Bad days are coming, we should be preparing our kids to be equipped to face those unknowns in a positive manner,” he said.

“I want them to both understand the resources and help that is out there, but also understand they can put their wellness back in their own hands.”

Mr Runnalls’ visit was organised by Lincoln Alive and Mentally Fit EP, and Lincoln Alive co-chairperson Jo Clark said his message was an important one to share with the local youth.

“Lincoln Alive and Mentally Fit EP together felt that Matt’s story and the work of Mindfull Aus fits perfectly with the message of flipping mental illness on its head and that self awareness and tools and resources are what will support us all on the road to recovery and mental fitness,” she said.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au.