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Meet Matt Runnalls - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Helping children open up

Mindfull Aus
Empathetic. Authentic. Determined

Matt Runnalls has spent the past seven years equipping thousands of school children with skills to deal with life’s challenges through Mindfull Aus.

Matt was motivated to set up his charity after conquering mental health challenges and homelessness and to honour 10 friends he lost to suicide.

Driven by the knowledge that 55 per cent of mental health challenges begin before 14, he created a groundbreaking early intervention program called Healthier Hearts and Lighter Minds for kindergarten and primary school children.

The children are taught the importance of talking about their feelings with their parents, teachers and friends, with eight out of ten describing this as their favourite part of the workshop. In addition, four out of five reported they were encouraged to speak to a professional if they needed help.

The children also learn how to positively control their emotions through gratitude, exercise and mindfulness.

One of Matt’s favourite parts is witnessing children as young as four openly describing their emotions.

He feels blessed to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “It is incredibly meaningful and a great opportunity to further reach and inspire more young champions to recognise the strength of who they are, no matter their challenges or situations,” Matt says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Mindfull Aus will use its funds to deliver its workshops to 370 children, provide schools with resources and train 12 teachers in youth mental health first aid.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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