batyr was launched in 2011, after founder Sebastian Robertson experienced the frustration and isolation of living silently with mental ill-health whilst at university. Sebastian recognised that it was time to have open honest conversations about mental health with young people, and founded the organisation, naming it after batyr (‘hero’), The Talking Elephant From Kazakhstan.
batyr is a preventative mental health charity, created and driven by young people, for young people. Our purpose is to engage, educate and empower by providing the knowledge and skills to lead mentally healthy lives. Our vision is that all young people are engaged in positive conversations about mental health and are empowered to reach out for support when needed. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44, we exist to change this.
In a classroom of 30 students, 7 will be dealing with a significant mental health concern. Alarmingly only 2 will reach out for help, leaving 5 suffering in silence. This is largely due to stigma. Mental health remains the elephant in the room with stigma, misconceptions, fear and shame preventing open discussion, a serious barrier to help-seeking and support.
batyr’s programs are designed to break down the stigma around mental health and promote positive help-seeking behaviours, by addressing the elephant in the room, in a unique and relatable way for young audiences and utilising trained speakers with a lived experience with mental ill-health. batyr speakers share their stories in schools and universities across the country in a structured and dynamic way, to promote mental health awareness, peer to peer support, positive help-seeking behaviours and pathways to further care.
Since 2011, batyr have trained over 820 young people to share their stories, delivering almost 1,500 programs in schools and universities, reaching almost 250,000 young people with messages of hope, recovery and resilience and creating positive cultural change.