Kade shares his experience with mental illness with others
ALMOST two years ago Kade Horan's life changed forever when he received a call on December 20 telling him his best friend had taken her own life.
Kade still doesn't know why his friend took her life, but she is the driving force behind his role as a mental health advocate.
He joined with Headspace Rockhampton to challenge the stigma associated with mental illness and educate high school students by sharing his own experiences.
The 18-year-old took on the role because he felt he could have a real impact when it came to breaking down stereotypes which surrounded mental illnesses.
"My drive to do what I do comes from the memory of my best friend who took her life but my own experience with mental illness also motivates me to spread awareness," Kade said.
After battling his own mental illness, Kade believed he had the capacity to make some real progress for young people.
Kade said he generally spoke as a representative for Headspace but some of his seminars had been independently organised.
"I've spoken to quite a few high schools in Rockhampton and abroad about a range of concepts," he said.
"I generally educate students about common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
"I then broaden their knowledge on bullying, suicide awareness and stigma by giving them firsthand accounts of my experiences."
Kade believed his success in breaking down stigma associated with mental illness was due to his age.
"Young people have been more inclined to take note of what I have to say because I'm relatable, I have lived through what they are experiencing in the same generation," he said.
"Promoting awareness of Headspace in the community is incredibly gratifying and for me to be able to speak in front of complete strangers, young and old, about mental illness is incredibly rewarding."
Kade said he loved his role because it allowed him to engage with the youth in the region.
"My awareness campaigns and activities range from social media to video blogs and seminars; I've explored different avenues so I know the benefits and reach each one possesses," he said.
"One in four people who pass away between the ages of 12-25 are suicides and this is why breaking down stereotypes, promoting mental wellbeing and suicide education are absolutely paramount."
If you need help call Headpace on 1800 650 890.