WHAT do we want? HEADSPACE.
When do we want it? NOW.
Click play to watch video from the protest (iPhone users tap the 'Videos' tab).
This was the chant of high school and university students from across the Border when they marched in unity as part of a fight for better mental health services in Albury-Wodonga yesterday.
Clad in purple and yellow, the colour of the butterflies that symbolise the campaign, the 100 students marched south from Noreuil Park and north from the circus site on Lincoln Causeway in a symbolic unification at the NSW and Victorian border on the Murray River.
The students offered stories of friends and family who have been affected with depression, anxiety and other mental illness.
All agreed on the need for a headspace centre, targeted at those aged 12 to 25.
In the past five years the existing centres have helped almost 70,000 people deal with depression, anxiety and stress.
All are leading causes of youth suicide — the biggest killer of young people, responsible for one in four deaths.
Trinity College captain Georgie Liston was one of 15 from her school at the rally.
“I think we have all been affected at some time, known people who are suffering from mental illness,” she said.
“It is really hard to picture what they are going through but you just need to be there to help.”
Co-captain Tom Coates said it was a focus of their studies this year.
“It has touched our school in the past year, we all know someone whether they be part of your family or school friends,” he said.
University student Talia Paterson, 22, is part of a Wodonga leadership group and wore purple to the rally.
“We are all committed to this cause because we all know someone who has been through it,” she said.
Seren Rogers, 20, was another to have been personally affected by mental illness.
In her case the girl was just 13.
“I was dramatically affected but fortunately she is now getting help,” she said.
Loretta Foster, mental health manager at Gateway Community Health, told the gathering that the show of support was a fillip for mental health workers.
“What is so great about today is not just the support for a headspace centre but the support of the youth themselves,” she said.
“These young people are the support networks for those suffering mental illness.
“The fact is that there are a host of support services on the Border for youth and adult mental health but they are funded in such a way that the person has to be quite sick before they see us.”