Men’s Health Week was started by the United States Congress in 1994, for the goal of heightening awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys on a community and even global level. The council wanted to celebrate this week, as it is often that students overlook and rarely open up and learn about mental health. To celebrate Men’s Health Week the Wellbeing Council planned a series of events through tutor: Meditation, yoga and even an assembly, as well as a fundraiser for Beyond Blue. This allowed students to engage in activities and learn about ways to develop stronger mental health, as well as directly helping fund an Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation.

Daniel Sader, Captain of Student Wellbeing

Head of Senior School

The Student Wellbeing Council in the Senior School have constructed a full week’s program to shed light on the importance of men’s mental health and wellbeing. During Tutor Group today Durack and Prendiville Houses were in the Chapel, which was so quiet you could hear an ant’s footsteps, as Brother Brian Clery lead the boys in a Christian Meditation, where he asked the boys to be open to breathe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Over in the Brother Paull Centre Chaney and Cullity Houses were lead through a yoga practice by Kellie Brett. As typical boys who play hard and well, don’t stretch, the groans and smiles as they tried to seek some grounding and length in their body was very entertaining! A huge thank you must go to Daniel Sader, Captain of Student Wellbeing, Jack Johnston and the council lead mindfully by Ms Ashayla Ramsay.

John Van Dyk, Head of Senior School
Man Up!


As I have found out through my own experiences with yoga outside of school, the peace and movement in the exercises is not only extremely beneficial for recovery of the muscles but also in the calming and clearing of the mind. My experience with the yoga class at school was a different experience, to say the least.

A bit of an unexpected event, the yoga was a great way to break up the day with my friends whilst also receiving the benefits of moving our bodies in ways that we don’t usually do so. The jokes and laughs aside, the time that was given to us to just disconnect and relax really helped me prepare my mindset for the upcoming few weeks filled with assignments and tests and allowed me to focus on the important things rather than worrying about things I can’t control.

Overall, even though I wasn’t expecting to do it, the yoga session was a great idea for Men’s Mental Health Week and brought to light the important thing in life.

  • Max Radotic, Sport Captain


One man, one belief, one Christian brother, Brian Clery and according to him the “greatest idea ever”. On Wednesday 16th June, Brother Clery was invited to give his inspirational mediation to half the senior school. As an Aquinian you here the meditation of a lifetime at least once a year but never you hear it surrounded by so many other individuals.

Brother, through the works of his majestic meditation taught us the gifts of the Holy Spirt. Through his words he told us how to encounter God’s Holy Spirit in our hearts, just by stopping and thinking for a second.

A man who has devoted his whole life to helping others and to serve God, he is one of a kind and a valued member of the Aquinas College community. During the meditation experience, I briefly opened my eyes, and for the first time I had realised how one man’s words through working with Jesus Christ can influence so many boys and turn them into a man, a man for others.

The mediation experience was truly one of a kind as it was a perfect time for us to open up our minds and hearts and to think of all the gifts God has given us. The mediation was a truly incredible experience, the most important thing that I personally grasp was that God is always there for you during the hard and tough times.

Brother Clery thank you so much for the amazing experience of a lifetime.

  • Louis Martino, Captain of Divinity


Reflection on Men’s Health Week from an advocacy viewpoint:

Mental health has been a priority for the Justice, Peace & Advocacy student council for a considerable amount of time, so an approach from the Student Wellbeing Council to listen in on their planning was a welcome one.

We created a poll to gauge the supports students felt was available to them to see the perception of the provided support systems at Aquinas. The results confirmed our suspicions – students were 2.2 times more likely to be there to support one another than they felt support was there for them. This indicates the extent to which mental health is an issue at Aquinas, which is why I highly commend the Student Wellbeing Council for their excellent execution of Men’s Health Week activities in starting conversation.

Change will only come about on the issue if conversations are had to prompt students to be there for their mates in a brotherhood like fashion that Aquinas values so highly. In addition to this, the council made clear the message to the boys that “It’s ok to not be ok” as part of a strategy to change the behaviours of teenage boys surrounding the issue. The engagement of this issue is an ongoing one that requires many fronts. I look forward to seeing the creative methods being utilised to combat this in the years to come.

    • Ged Street, Advocacy Captain

Man Up!

In Week 9, the presenters from ‘Man Up!’ came in and talked to the Year 10 students. This organisation is devoted to helping decrease the severity of men’s mental health and has delivered presentations all over the state. To begin with, we were given a brief speech about ‘Man Up!’ - focused on what they did and who they were. After this, we separated into groups and participated in an activity. The activity was similar to the game of true or false, where we all read out a fact or statistic and had to say why we thought that it was true or false. Through this activity, we learnt many interesting details, like women are 83% more likely to ask for help when concerning mental health issues, and that 75% of men will struggle with mental health at some point in their life.

I feel that it was a fantastic idea to give this presentation to the Year 10 cohort, the presentation made great strides in breaking down stigma and preconceived notions about men’s mental health. With the existing gender stereotypes in our society, it is important to break the cycle of the stereotypes. The way that we must do this is to target the younger generations, those who will be the ones who break the stigma around men’s mental health and will make our society a more accepting and healthier place. The ‘Man Up!’ organisation are making great strides to achieving this.

  • Rory Watson, Yr 10

When I first heard of the idea for a Men’s Health Week, my eyes lit up. I knew that this kind of thing would have been perfect for trying to gradually improve the mental health culture around Aquinas, and I took the opportunity in my stride. The ideas for yoga and meditation came from Ms Ramsay and other council members, whilst the idea for Man Ups inclusion came from Mrs Hughes and Mr Mavros who were excited about the opportunity. Finally, the idea for the 'It’s ok to not be ok' campaign came from the past Sticks and Stones campaign that had been run a couple of years prior.

Overall I am so thankful for all the amazing inputs from such a large group of people and I learned so much about what it means to oversee and even lead a project such as Men’s Health Week. Some other reflections I have taken out of the week are, it is always nerve-wracking and anxious before an event comes up, but it feels great for it to go according to plan – or close to it. I hope everyone got something out of Men’s Health Week, even if it just was the doughnuts, we were selling on the Tuesday for the Aquinas Happiness Day.

Jack Johnston, Student Wellbeing Councilmember