Starting the discussion, breaking the stigma – Murdoch student Lily is seeking to normalise talking about mental health
Meet Murdoch University student, Lily: Prior to starting university, eight years of Lily’s life were dedicated to gymnastics; 36 hours training a week and no time for ‘normal teen’ activities. Her goal to partake in the 2020 Olympic Games had become her whole identity. During this time her mental health started to decline, and she was facing depression and anxiety. When she realised her dream was no longer her dream, she struggled to understand who she was without gymnastics.
Not finding the support and answers she needed inspired her to speak up about mental health using the power of social media to connect with a wider community. Her Instagram account @how_2_be_well is all about being authentic and helping others that are experiencing similar situations.
“You belong to this world and together we can break the stigma,” says Lily.
Besides her online engagements, Lily has been awarded the title of ‘City of Melville’s Young Community Citizen of the Year’ for her mental health fundraising and advocacy and she also became the Lifeline WA Youth Ambassador.
Combining two study areas at Murdoch to pursue her dream
Being an ex-elite athlete that has experienced trauma from training first-hand, Lily became very interested in sport science as well as the psychology element involved in sports.
At Murdoch, Lily found a way to pursue both career paths by studying a double degree in Sport Science and Psychology . Her goal is to help emerging athletes and change the current culture of elite sports that may negatively affect mental health.
She especially enjoys the hands-on experience at Murdoch where she can apply her knowledge in different areas, meet new people and use equipment in the biomechanics lab to analyse body movements and forces throughout different sporting tasks.
Lily’s advice to future students
“I would encourage people to choose on campus learning if possible as it allows you to connect with other students and staff, as well as create a sense of belonging.”
Like many others, Lily struggled during the Covid-19 lockdown and is now even happier to be back on campus among the vibrant student life. She feels that being on campus increases motivation and rewards you more for your efforts. Lily also emphasises to always reach out for help if its needed and that nobody should feel ashamed if they are struggling.
“Some things will be harder than others and that is okay, just believe in yourself and don’t be scared to ask for help.”
And with the support of amazing teachers and a range of practical experience at Murdoch, Lily is coming closer to her dream while she is seeking to normalise talking about mental health and struggles.