Men aged 18-30 are invited to attend a free 'Being Herd' workshop on August 27 and 28 to help share experiences of navigating tough times, at a Batyr male-only workshop.
Batyr, a preventative mental health organisation run by young people, means 'hero' and is the name of the Talking Elephant from Kazakhstan. It was set up by Sebastian Robertson in 2011, following bouts of depression he experienced as a young man, but kept quiet about. The purpose of Batry is for young people to share real life stories and give a voice to 'the elephant in the room'. Its central message is that "it's okay to not be okay, help is out there and you're not alone."
Batyr's Being Herd workshop creates a space for men to come together talk openly about mental health.
"Speaking about emotions is not something that comes naturally to me... however, I cannot describe the unexpected rewards of opening myself up to moments of vulnerability," said one participant.
"This week I had the privilege to spend a weekend hearing men, from all different walks of life, tell their stories of mental ill-health at the Being Herd workshop," said another.
"Because of their willingness to share and their compassion towards others stories, I also was able to contribute my story, tears and all ... It was an incredibly enriching and life-affirming experience that I know I will look back on as a significant moment in my journey."
During the workshop, participants learn how to build the skills and confidence to share about their lived experience of mental ill health, how they reached out for support and how they manage their wellbeing. Those who want to take part in the program, don't need a diagnosed mental illness. Batyr hopes to attract young males who's life has been impacted by mental ill health, or who are caring for someone with a mental illness, and who are passionate about reducing the stigma around mental health.
Some people who attend these workshops become Batyr speakers - sharing their stories at the organisation's school and university programs.
The workshops can include up to 10 participants, and anyone interested should fill out an expression of interest form. even if this is something they would consider becoming involved with at a later date.