Lily is Melville Young Citizen of the Year

Class of 2018 graduate Lily Gresele, was recently awarded the title of Young Citizen of the Year from the City of Melville. Lily was recognised for her mental health fundraising efforts and advocacy through her social media presence, where she shares her own struggles with anxiety and depression.

How did you come to apply for this award?

My mum nominated me for the award and wrote a little paragraph about what I do for the community and how I’m involved in helping others and those who can feel vulnerable. 

What does receiving this award mean to you?

Receiving this award is super special to me. Mainly because it feels good to be recognised for my work in the community. Much of my work is done on social media via my Instagram account @how_2_be_well. So, it is hard to tell if people are getting anything out of what I am doing. It makes me feel super proud of the journey I have been on. The leap I took to share my story with the community and that people are getting something out of it, and I am helping people on their own journey. 

What have you been doing since leaving Santa Maria?

Since leaving school, I have been studying full time at university, doing a double degree in Psychology and sports science. I have been trying to normalise the discussion of mental health within society by speaking openly about my journey. I hope it encourages others to feel safe talking about theirs. 

What do you love about your job/career?

I love sharing my journey with others and creating a safe place for people to come and be reassured that they are not alone and that there is a reason to keep fighting each day. I love being able to help people and make them realise that asking for help is not so scary as it is made out to be, and it does not make you weak.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me is going to uni, working my casual job, attending the gym and then working on my How To Be Well page and posting updates on how I’m going with life. 

How do you push through the hard times?

Going through hard times can be challenging as you can lose hope and motivation to continue working through the challenge. You can get overwhelmed with all the emotions inside you. This can eventually lead to burnout. Therefore, my go-to is to talk to someone else about how I feel when I am struggling. It could be my mum, dad, partner or even my dog. Just being about to let out what’s happening inside your head will lift a massive weight off your shoulders, and you will feel less alone and that someone is cheering you on along the way. 

Whose career inspires you and why?

Someone whose career inspired me is Jazz Thorton. Jazz is a mental health advocate from New Zealand who talks about her story and her experiences with mental health, similar to how I do. She is super inspiring and motivational and helps me believe that there is a way out of it and a future without the demons inside my head. She has written books on her journey and has inspired many young people to keep fighting their battle, and I hope to do the same. 

What book do you think everyone should read?

Everyone should read A Radical Awakening, written by Dr Shefali. 

Is there a particular teacher, subject or program at Santa Maria that has inspired you since leaving?

A particular teacher that has inspired me is Ms Jennifer Jansen. Ms Jansen was my Year 12 English teacher, and English was a subject I struggled severely with at school. However, she made me believe that I could achieve anything and made me feel like she really cared about my progress and about me mentally. She was the first person to realise something wasn’t quite right with me and encouraged me to seek help which lead me to start my mental health journey and write blogs to help others!

Lily, you certainly are an inspiration and a true Mercy woman. Congratulations on this well-deserved award!

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