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Australia’s largest youth mental wellbeing convention inspires over 66,000 students

Australia’s largest youth mental wellbeing convention inspires over 66,000 students
June 11, 2021

The largest youth event of its kind in Australia - Stand Tall Sydney 2021 – returned yesterday to the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC), to empower high school students to address some of the biggest challenges affecting young Australians including mental health, bullying and overcoming adversity.   

For the first time, Stand Tall hosted a hybrid event, with the convention attended by over 6,000 students at the ICC and live streamed to over 60,000 students nationwide.

Stand Tall Australia Chief Executive and cofounder, Jeanine Treharne notes “after a year of uncertainty, we are incredibly proud to bring Stand Tall 2021 to thousands of young Australians, reaching even more of our youths this year with our first-ever hybrid event. Stand Tall Australia has grown from strength to strength each year and we want to continue this trajectory and inspire more young Australians."

Hosted by Australia’s favourite weatherman Sam Mac, Stand Tall 2021 brought some of Australia’s most inspirational leaders together to arm students with the skills of resilience, the keys to motivation and the power of perspective.

Michelle Payne, the first and only female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, shared her story of incredible resilience and how she achieved her dreams through hard work and rising above difficulties, “When I started racing, it was really tough because back then there weren’t very many female riders in Melbourne. I was still trying to break into the industry and get the chance to ride for some of the bigger trainers. There were times where I was replaced by men and times I faced massive setbacks. But it was perseverance and a love of riding that got me through and drove me to achieve my goals.  

“It’s important to remember that nothing in life comes easy. You will have to work hard to pursue your passions and achieve your dreams. There will be times when you will get shut down and things will be hard, but you have to believe in yourself and fight for what you want to achieve. Aim high, enjoy the journey and you can achieve anything.”   

Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, Co-founders of Orange Sky laundry service for the homeless, shared how the two young Queenslanders went from a crazy idea to changing lives of tens of thousands of people, created through genuine and non-judgmental conversations. In seven years, Orange Sky has now washed over 1.7 million kilos of laundry for homeless and vulnerable people. Marchesi adds “each and every one of us can deliver hope, each and every one of us can care, we just need to remind ourselves of the power of an awesome conversation.”  

Michael Crossland, author, businessman and elite sportsman, told the audience how he defied the odds when faced with life-threatening cancer and went on to build a life of exceptional achievements founded on service, gratitude and making a positive impact on others’ lives, “I truly believe that outside of love, hope is one of the most powerful words in the English dictionary. We all have the ability to instil hope into somebody’s life. When you strive in your life to get out of bed and simply aim to make a change for someone else, I promise your life will look better. When you change the way you look at things, the way things look changes.”   

Stand Tall is a not-for-profit organisation established by Jeanine Treharne and Angela Farr-Jones to build hope and help address mental health issues in young people. From humble beginnings in 2013 where 1,200 secondary students sat in a school hall to hear inspiring stories of hope, the success of this first event triggered a new way of providing effective wellbeing lessons to secondary students.   

Stand Tall has now become the largest youth event of its kind in Australia, experiencing exponential growth over the last eight years. Student cohorts, from schools state-wide, gather in the ICC Sydney theatre to hear messages of hope from speakers who have either faced major adversities or set themselves incredible goals - and then gone on to lead amazing lives.   

Schools, students and anyone else keen to view the full event or any of the sessions can sign up for free here. The event will be available to view online until 9th August, 2021.

For further information or to provide support and donations to the Stand Tall charity please visit


Related Articles

22nd May 2020 - Australia’s largest youth wellbeing event to be live-streamed from ICC Sydney

28th April 2021 - VicHealth partners with 16 councils to offer young people more decision-making opportunities

19th April 2021 - Outdoors NSW and ACT secure funding to help youth into active recreation

9th March 2021 - Y NSW launches new active wellness program for Parramatta and Mount Annan youth

6th January 2021 - City of Fremantle and Perth-based Yogazeit help teenagers and young adults support mental health and wellbeing

6th May 2020 - YMCA warns against long-term impacts of COVID-19 on youth

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