Mental health hero an award finalist

Kyle Hayes has been listed as a finalist for the Westfield Local Heroes award. (Supplied)

Oliver Lees

Youth mental health advocate Kyle Hayes has been listed as a finalist for the Westfield Local Heroes award, with a chance to win a grant of $10,000 that can contribute towards his work in the community.

The 25-year-old was nominated for the awards by his employer batyr, an organisation founded to encourage open discussion of mental health at schools across Australia.

Mr Hayes said since he joined batyr as a lived experience speaker in 2018, he’s enjoyed having a platform to assist others in their mental health journey.

“There’s a lot of barriers for people in regional Victoria that people in metro areas don’t face,” Mr Hayes said.

“There’s definitely a higher level of stigma and even just geographical distance can make it harder to access services.

“I know because I grew up in Romsey with very little public transport or services available to me.”

Mr Hayes has also been involved in a number of other mental health organisations, including Live4Life, Orygen Digital and Little Dreamers Australia.

Mr Hayes said the $10,000 grant would cover the costs for batyr to facilitate at least four in-school workshops.

“I love the program and telling my story to schools. I really hope we can get this funding and get out to some schools who don’t usually get exposure to this sort of workshop.”

The winners of the Westfield Local Heroes will be announced on October 12.