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Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank pledge support for Camp Hero mental health leadership program

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Bendigo Bank Customer Service Officer Kellie Radalj (centre) was a mentor on the camp. Maddy and Zoe both described the camp was amazing and a great opportunity for any student between the age of 14 and 17 years of age to attend.

Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank have committed to sending 29 students to complete specialised training aimed at promoting positive mental health in Western Australian communities. The training, delivered by zero2hero at Camp Hero, is open to students from Years 9 to 12 in all regions of the State.
Following a presentation at Bendigo Bank’s WA Community Bank® State Conference in May this year, Ashlee Harrison, Founder and CEO of zero2hero urged the branch network to become involved with one of zero2hero’s residential training programs, Camp Hero. The Camp Hero program educates, equips and empowers young people to promote good mental health in their communities.

The presentation clearly left a lasting impression on the Community Bank® delegates with a total of 13 WA Community Bank® branches putting their hands up to fund 21 students to attend the Camp Hero Mental Health Leadership (MHL) program in October. The Bendigo Bank corporate branch network also committed to funding places for an additional four students, with Rural Bank – a wholly owned subsidiary of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank – matching this and bringing the total to 29.

Stephen Fidge Senior Branch Manager of Gingin Community Bank® Branch and Lancelin branch said, “Camp Hero MHL is a program that delivers vital skills and capabilities to our young people and we’re delighted to be able to offer our support for this important initiative.”

“Camp Hero MHL is a five-day youth leadership training camp that brings together students, mentors, and experts to equip young people with the skills they need to become mental health leaders and ambassadors when they return to their communities.”
“The five-day residency is aimed at students from year nine to twelve and focuses on five key themes of self-awareness, physical health, mental health, personal challenges and community impact.

“Participants return to their communities empowered as mental health leaders and ambassadors. The vital life skills they will learn and the relationships forged during the camp are just the beginning of their leadership journey.
“Upon completion of the course, participants will contribute to creating positive change, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and helping to identify behaviours that will ultimately minimise harm and self-harm among young people back in their home communities,” Stephen concluded.
Dennis Teale, State Manager Bendigo Bank WA said, “Programs such as Camp Hero are a step in the right direction in terms of shining a light on mental health from a young age. We want to help remove the stigma around mental health issues for young Australians”.

Simon Dundon, Rural Bank General Manager Sales and Distribution, said that mental health is one of the biggest social issues impacting people in Australia and an issue that should not be ignored.

“As a specialist agricultural bank, it is critical for us to do as much as we can to help improve mental health outcomes, particularly in rural and regional communities. That’s why we are very pleased to provide such forward thinking and training to our next generation of community leaders.”