A passion for making change earns student a Blues Award

04-Oct-2017 8:00 AM

A young mental health campaigner has been recognised by the University of Auckland for her community contributions beyond her studies.

Lucy McSweeney, an Engineering Science student, received the Blues Award for Most Outstanding Contribution (Service and Leadership) at a gala event last Friday. 
A University Blue is the highest accolade to be earned at a Tertiary level for excellence in a sporting code; arts and culture; and service and leadership. The prestigious awards are a University of Auckland tradition dating back to 1922.
Other major award winners included Olympic medallist Eliza McCartney and upcoming para-athlete Keegan Owen Pitcher.
Lucy, 21, is a passionate mental health campaigner who is working to improve mental health education in the New Zealand school system. She collected nearly 10,000 signatures for a petition calling for better guidelines, adequate training and funding for mental health education in the high school curriculum. The petition was delivered to parliament in June and is currently under select committee review for action.
Lucy has been open with her own experience of mental illness in her advocacy. She hopes that being open about such a challenge will provide hope to the one in five other young New Zealanders who face mental health problems and encourage them to seek help.
“Having mental health problems is one of the hardest things that’s ever happened to me, but I’m just so thankful and so lucky, unlike other people, that I got the help I needed to get back up again. It’s just a privilege that I can use those experiences to help others,” Lucy, 21, says.
“Talking about the most vulnerable thing that’s happened isn’t the easiest thing, but I really believe in it and I believe that if we improve education and help people stay well before they get sick, that will help us to support one-another and to seek the help that we need when we need it.”
As part of her campaign Lucy has spoken at schools and forums, engaged with politicians and the media.
In total 114 awards were bestowed at the annual Blues Awards for sport and other activates such as architectural design, dance choreography, coaching sports at an international level, polocrosse and orienteering.

Media contact:
Danelle Clayton
Communications, Vice-Chancellor's Office
The University of Auckland
Email: d.clayton@auckland.ac.nz
Mob: 027 537 2580

Topic: General News

Media contact

About us