The Orygen Global youth mental health advocacy fellowship was designed to support youth advocates through a 6-month program including education modules, peer mentoring and expert mentoring. There are 12 fellows from 12 different countries, all the fellows have personal lived experience in mental-ill health and many of the current fellows are professionally trained in the mental health area.
Three months into the fellowship, the fellows have participated in expert mentoring, peer mentoring, social hours, podcast recordings, advocacy toolkit consultations and education modules from globally acclaimed speakers including organisations such as the Climate Peace and Justice Institute, United for Global Mental Health, Spur, UNICEF and more.
Some of the goals of the fellows included connection to other youth mental health advocates and for a strong network to be established between fellows.
These sessions have helped fellows get to know each other and share their own experiences. All the fellows have found the education and training sessions useful and they have loved the interactive nature of the sessions. Last month’s module was all about sharing your mental health story and fellows reported that it was great to balance crafting your story with how you can tell it. The practical element of each module has made the fellowship content easy to remember and reflection sessions have helped fellows consolidate their learning.
Participating in a virtual fellowship and accommodating global time zones is not without its challenges, navigating work and/or study commitments, as well as issues with internet connectivity. The fellowship team have provided some financial assistance to ensure all the fellows can engage and participate effectively.