Addressing the elephant in the room with Batyr

For the month of April, we’re donating 15% of our Hemp Bar sales online to batyr, an organisation smashing the stigma around mental health. We recently sat down with India, Head of Programs at batyr, to discuss the important work they’re doing and the impact they’re having on young Australians. 


Can you please tell us a little bit about batyr and what the organisation does?

Batyr is a ‘for purpose’ preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people. Our programs address “the elephant in the room” in a unique and relatable way for young audiences, utilising trained speakers with a lived experience with mental ill health. 

We smash the stigma surrounding mental health and empower young people to reach out - building mental health literacy, improving help seeking, and connecting schools and students with pathways to care. Batyr aims to engage, educate and empower young people and their support networks, giving them the knowledge and skills to lead mentally healthy lives.

I love that batyr is the link between young people and service providers; without the work that batyr does to reduce stigma and empower young people to reach out for support we would have less young people using the services available due to stigma. We aim to change the way young people think and talk about mental health.

Why is having conversations about mental health with young people in particular so important? 

75% of people who experience mental illness develop symptoms before they turn 25, and if young people are able to recognise the symptoms or speak to someone about how they are feeling they are more likely to get the treatment they need. If left untreated, the long term impacts on their adult life can be significant. 

 At batyr, we focus on positive conversations about mental health as well as talking about the tough stuff. Mental health exists on a spectrum and, just as we need to talk about the times when we may be experiencing mental ill-health, it’s also important to recognise when we are in a positive headspace so that we can learn what may be contributing to this.

What impact does batyr have on young people?

During my time at batyr, I’ve seen many examples of batyr being a big part of people’s mental health journey. It’s amazing to see young people who have seen a batyr@school program feel able to speak to some after the program about what they’ve been experiencing. Often, they will speak to a teacher or a parent after the program and open up about something they perhaps did not have the courage to speak about before. Recently, a school staff member got in touch with us to share this incredible feedback:

“I just wanted to share with you some feedback from a student who attended on Thursday. This student has been going through a very difficult situation and was even at the point of suicide. She found the program really helpful and is seeing a counsellor and registered with accessibility services. How awesome is that. Thank you for the work you do.” 

It’s receiving feedback like this that keeps me motivated and passionate about the work we do. 

What are some of the little ways we can all take care of our mental health in everyday life? 

There are so many ways to take care of our mental health in our daily lives - it’s really about finding what works for you. It could be taking five minutes each morning to write a journal, walking your dog every day or socialising with a good group of friends. Whatever it may be that makes you feel good, be conscious of it and try and do more of it!

If you need support, remember there's always someone there to speak to. You can reach out to one of the help lines below 24/7.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467