HELPFUL TRIO: Mildura Rotary’s Gary Klippel with Indie College coach, Kerry Hall and college student, Tahlia Miles

WITH the passing of a very stressful year for many people, the issue of mental health has been at the forefront for those who endure depression and anxiety in their lives, something which was heightened by the isolation that the COVID restrictions imposed.
In response to this, Mildura Indie College student Tahlia Miles raised some welcome funds for the ‘Lift the Lid on Mental Illness’ program, which is a national fundraising and awareness initiative of Australian Rotary Health.
The program, which commenced in 2016 in partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Victoria, aims to raise funds for mental health research and ultimately improve the lives of all Australians.
Mildura Rotary member and Assistant District Governor Gary Klippel congratulated Tahlia for her fundraising efforts.
“Rotary is very grateful to Tahlia and the Indie College for their valuable contribution to this important cause,” Gary said.
“I think with COVID, isolation and all of the issues that have come during the last 12 months and longer, have been critical to a lot of people and there are people out there who feel vulnerable and we need to help them as much as we possible can.”
Gary said that the onset coronavirus pandemic had made fundraising and the activities that Rotary would normally undertake each year difficult and impossible in some instances.
“We are looking forward in the coming months to being able to get some more events going so that we can raise money. It’s crucial to the community service that we provide,” he said.
Indie College coach Kerry Hall said that Tahlia had nominated supporting Lift the Lid as part of her learning program projects.
“Tahlia decided as part of her personal development skills program to adopt a project to raise funds for Lift the Lid,” Kerry said. “She organised an afternoon tea at our office before Christmas which raised more than $100 through a gold coin donation from the more than 20 staff, parents and learners who attended.
“A lot of our learners have mental health − depression and anxiety − and this can prevent them from attending mainstream schooling and so we offer an alternative to those young learners.”
Kerry said that everyone attending the afternoon tea was asked to wear a hat and there were some interesting designs including Tahlia’s, which was a mushroom.
“We certainly had some funny hats and Tahlia made her own which was a nice mushroom design,” she said.
“I chose to wear a reindeer hat, others included an ostrich, Santa, a Christmas tree design and even a Viking helmet! It was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed the occasion and it was great to have that engagement from those in attendance.”
Supported by the Australian College of Higher education, the Indie School is a registered and accredited non-government school, specifically designed for the inclusion of young people aged 15-19 years who are not in traditional school.
Each year one in five Australians will experience a mental illness. In order to help future generations of Australians, there is a need to look to the future through research and establish how to prevent the illness occurring.
Local Sunraysia Rotary Clubs have been involved in fundraising for Australian Rotary Health for many years, and every year in October, all clubs take part in ‘hat day’. Wearing a special hat or organising an event around this theme allows clubs to raise funds for mental health on a regular basis, however they constantly look for ways to donate to the cause all year round.