Albury-Wodonga headspace to stage The Big Shout anti-bullying campaign

Youth across the Border will “shout” their anti-bullying messages to the sky at Gateway Village on Saturday, July 15.

Young people between the ages of 9 and 25 will make a pledge against bullying by writing messages on paper planes, which will take flight at The Big Shout event from 4pm to 8pm on the Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga.

The event will also include live local bands, a DJ, free barbecue, food trucks, anti-bullying information … oh, and chances are you may have spotted one very large black gorilla making its way around the Border in the lead-up to Saturday.

A joint initiative between headspace and the Albury and Wodonga councils, the campaign is aimed at knowing the line between bullying and banter.

Headspace community development worker Bree Cross said bullying had been identified as a major factor affecting youth mental health.

Local youth consultations revealed 46.8% of school students had experienced bullying in the past year and 84% of students who were bullied online were also bullied offline, she reported.

Equally concerning was that in 87% of bullying cases, bystanders played a “central role” in the bullying process.

In response to these findings a youth working party developed the Know the Line campaign and The Big Shout event, which asks the community to pledge its commitment to putting a stop to bullying behaviour in the region.

“Bullying is defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour that is verbal, physical, social or psychological aggression by a person or group directed toward a less powerful person or group with the intent to cause harm, embarrassment, distress or fear,” headspace states.

BIG SHOUT: Aleisha Griffin, Brooke Quarrie, "gorilla" Rachel Habgood, headspace's Bree Cross, Madeline Carter, and Kyle Reeves (back). Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

BIG SHOUT: Aleisha Griffin, Brooke Quarrie, "gorilla" Rachel Habgood, headspace's Bree Cross, Madeline Carter, and Kyle Reeves (back). Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

The Big Shout event is a youth-led campaign, said Albury-Wodonga headspace manager Karina Kerr.

“We want to empower young people to not only understand bullying but to be able to say stop or know where to seek support that will help put a stop to the behaviour,” she said.

“Our organisational partners are committed to the process of supporting and working with young people in reducing bullying and increasing the resilience of local young people.”

  • The  Big Shout is on Saturday, July 15 at Gateway Village, Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga 4pm – 8pm. Go to The Big Shout facebook page.