QUEENSLAND Reds rugby union player James Horwill helped launch Kids Matter, a national mental health program aimed at primary school students, at Our Lady of Fatima School, Acacia Ridge.
The Reds captain, who is out with a knee injury, spoke to students about his own battle to overcome the serious injury and get back playing for the Reds.
He underwent a knee reconstruction after rupturing ligaments in his right knee and sustaining other serious joint damage.
Horwill encouraged the students to think positively when faced with their own problems.
Principal Martyn Savage said Horwill and other Reds team members were keen to be a part of the national mental health program, as they understood the importance of teaching children to be more resilient.
“We asked James to be involved in the school’s Kids Matter launch for two reasons,” he said.
“Firstly because our students are particularly sports driven and we thought having a well known, young sporting personality would have more of an impact on the students.
“Secondly we were aware of James’ current injury and were keen to hear how he had remained positive during this obvious trying time.”
A number of Brisbane Catholic Education-run schools, have adopted the Kids Matter program, the first national framework of its type, developed in collaboration and support from Department of Health and Ageing, Principals Australia, Beyond Blue, Australian Psychological Society and Australian Rotary Health.
The program provides a framework for mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention specifically designed for primary schools and aims to help schools develop a comprehensive approach to protecting the mental health of students and all members of the school community.
The program involves parents, families, carers, teachers and community groups making a positive difference for students’ mental health during this important developmental period.
Mr Savage said the school also was in discussion with the Reds about future visits and holding training sessions at the school.