The St Luke’s YCS group was established this year. Together we have explored a range of issues that we view  as important in our world today. In term 1, we began within an inward look to increasing belonging at St Luke’s  for students. In term 2, we delved into racial stereotyping as it was an issue most of our members had faced  within their lifetime. Finally, this past term we have been exploring the connection between environment and  mental health as they were both issues that our members were passionate about. 

Being a part of YCS has allowed all of us to find ways in which we can make a difference in the world whether  it be big or small. We were all able to understand the importance of caring for social justice issues that are  present within today’s society. Although our journey has just started, we were all able to contribute in a small  way already which has been very fulfilling. 

“YCS to me is a way to help the community, and I attend to help with projects that are going on.” -Billy W (Year  7 YCS member) 

For term 3 of YCS, we planned a Q and A event that touches on the topic of mental health and its relationship  with the environment. Our team invited a range of panellists who answered the several questions that we  prepared with insightful responses. It was interesting to see the different perspectives from professionals,  teachers and even from a student. The panellists were:  

– Sebastian Salaske, Justice, Peace and Ecology Coordinator, Diocese of Parramatta.

– Claire Thomas, Jesuit Social Service. 

– Meike Corbin, Science teacher and Well-being coordinator at St Luke’s Catholic College.

Alicja Borcuich, Young Christian Workers & Climate justice advocate 

– Reese Nunez, Student at St Luke’s Catholic College 

As a team, the YCS leaders with the support of the YCS members, were able to come to a realisation of the link  between our mental health and the environment we are in. Thus the idea of exploring the connection between  the two became the focus of our action. We, as a team, had realised that due to the current situation we are in,  we were stuck in the same environment for a prolonged period and we discovered the impact this would have  on our mental health. We wanted to look for ways to improve upon our mental health as this was a priority in the  lives of many individuals, while also advocating for the climate crisis our world is facing. 

Prompting questions regarding the linkage between the environment and mental health were asked to our expert  panellists. Questions such as the impact of this problem on the youth, ways we can solve these concurrent issues, and the connection to contemporary events and issues that have a direct effect on the environment and  mental health were probed with our panellists. One excerpt of our question and response was:  Q: What do you believe are the impacts of the climate crisis on the youth? 

A:The future generation is concerned for what is to come, which is why major change is needed to sustain our  world before it is too late. These environmental issues that are going on could potentially affect the mental health  of the youth, therefore impacting how they decide to live their everyday lives. As a whole, we should become  more aware and educated about just how severe environmental issues are nowadays. To better our community,  we all need every individual’s contribution to making a positive impact on the environment such as avoiding  basic practices that will negatively impact the environment as yes we can be holding events not only to raise  awareness, although to raise more funds so that we can further help those who are need of our help to solve  issues such as climate change. 

Despite not being able to do the event face to face, we feel that this online event was a success, as we were not  only able to find a link between two major issues in our world, but also bring light to different organisations,  groups and individuals that can work together to solve this in our local community. We hope that this will be able  to inspire change in the issues discussed and enable the older, present, and future generations to strive to make a difference whilst we still have time to do so.

Written by: The St Luke’s YCS student group

To view the event, please use the QR code below:  

Q&A video link