A PASSION for healthy living and a desire to share that with others particularly those who live with mental illness, has seen a former student from Marist College, Emerald, awarded the 2017 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year, earlier this month.
Bridie Duggan completed Years 11 and 12 at Marist College, graduating in 2010, and she spoke fondly of her time at the college during a recent interview with ABC Local Radio Capricornia.
“It was a place that had incredible people who believed in you,” she said. “I learnt from some really inspiring teachers who let me know that whatever you want to do in life you can definitely achieve it if you put in the hard work.”
Marist College principal Marie Martin remembered Ms Duggan as a sporty student with a real love and loyalty to others.
“Bridie was an absolute delight to teach. She had a beautiful heart and was a very generous girl. We are justifiably proud of her achievement,” Mrs Martin said.
Shocked by the suicide of a close friend in her hometown of Katherine, 24-year-old Ms Duggan, decided to take action to raise awareness and funds to support the one in four Australians who will suffer from mental illness during their lives.
Ms Duggan promotes the message that speaking out about mental illness and depression is not weak, and encouraged people not to hide their feelings but to seek help.
“Coming from the Northern Territory we have that motto Territory Tough so people try to hide their feelings and don’t speak out to others because it is seen as weak,” she said.
“It is good to break that stigma and get awareness out there back home.”
Currently studying a Masters degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney, Ms Duggan hopes to go on and gain qualifications in nutrition before returning to the Northern Territory or a regional area to give something back to the community.