One year after Lucy McSweeney took part in the Mental Health Foundation’s social change programme, POD (Point of Difference), the 21-year-old was on the steps of Parliament to present her petition to the Government.
“In terms of helping me to form ideas and get into active change and to make the connections I needed to launch my petition, I don’t think anything would’ve happened without POD, which is awesome right? What a testimony,” Lucy says.
The Auckland engineering student’s call to improve mental health education in schools is now backed by more than 9,000 people, just shy of her goal of 10,000 signatures.
Lucy took part in the Mental Health Foundation’s mentored incubator programme, POD, after her own challenges with mental health in high school.
“POD was always a really safe and supportive place and it’s so nice to be with people who have experienced mental health problems, but who are also keen to grow and make a difference.”
The Mental Health Foundation has launched its third round of the programme and is calling on young people aged 17–24 to submit their creative social change proposals. Individual or group projects are welcome and the sky is the limit for application ideas – from visual arts, videos and websites to drama, writing and street performances.
Through mentoring, workshops and industry contacts, POD helps young people to turn ideas into action and develop leadership skills. It’s also an opportunity to connect with like-minded people.
POD is supported by Like Minds, Like Mine, a nationwide programme to end mental illness discrimination in New Zealand.
For further information or comment from the Mental Health Foundation or Lucy McSweeney, please contact:
Senior Communications and Marketing Officer
Mental Health Foundation