GIRLS on Board’s Mental Health Awareness Program is an upcoming collaboration with Bass Coast YMCA and YES Youth hub to offer a fun four-week surfing program to local youth.
Jess Laing from Girls on Board said the combination of saltwater and surfing helps develop sustainable wellbeing.
“Being in the saltwater is incredibly powerful and therapeutic. Once you add surfing into the mix, it takes it to a whole new level,” Jess said.
“When you are riding a wave naturally you need to be 100 per cent in the moment which allows for complete mindfulness and all worries and stressors are forced to take a back seat,” she said.
The program is set to commence on Wednesday, November 11, with four weeks (possibly five depending on the weather) of classes from 4.30pm to 6pm.
The YMCA’s youth program coordinator Darren ‘Curl’ Marks said the program teaches sport with a mental health focus.
“We hope this program reaches those who need it for whatever reason,” Darren said.
“Participants will finish with the skills to continue surfing and an increased awareness around their own mental health,” he said.
Jess has recently spoken out about her own mental health issues and hopes her lessons can help others.
“If this year has taught us anything, it is that we must take care of ourselves physically and mentally, and make sure that we continue to do things that make us happy,” Jess said.
“Being out in nature is so important for our health now and… we are lucky to be surrounded by it,” she said.
The program costs $150 per participant and will run through until December 2 (with allowances for December 9).