Day One Workshop
From Scholarship Kid to High School Drop-Out. My Secret Journey Through Mental Illness.
Nic Newling

“In Year 7 I was a scholarship student on the way to living my dream of being a vet. One year later I was admitted to my first psychiatric ward. Two years later I had my first round of shock therapy.” Nic Newling spent most of his high school years in hiding. In this deeply personal presentation, Nic details his own journey through the mental illness maze of struggling to find purpose, meaning, and a reason to live.
“The idea of positivity made me angry at the time. The most challenging part of my experience wasn't suffering the symptoms or searching for a cure. It was feeling completely alone. I feared that if I told anyone what was really going on in my head they would judge me and would want nothing to do with me.”
Nic shares his personal story in his own words of what took him from that place to where he ended up — loving life and working in the areas of Positive Psychology and mental health advocacy. Nic’s former life of misery and pain is so far removed from his daily experience now that he sometimes feels as though he’s telling someone else's story. It’s an honest narrative exposing the hidden life of students when they feel they have to pretend to thrive.

About Nic
Nic Newling is an outspoken advocate for mental health, suicide prevention, and sharing personal stories. Nic has reached millions of people through television, live talks, documentaries, radio, print, and online. He strives to make a continuing positive impact utilising sharing and listening to encourage helpful, unscripted conversations around mental health, suicide prevention, and getting the most out of life.
Nic is an ambassador for Australia Day, R U OK? Day, Movember, and the Australian Mental Health Prize. He has been featured on Australian Story, The TODAY Show, Huffington Post, the upcoming documentary 'Suicide: The Ripple Effect', and his mother's Human Rights Award-winning memoir Missing Christopher.
As founder of mental health initiative, The Champions, Nic continues to spread his messages of support, strength, and hope around the world with the guiding mantra “We Champion sharing to help improve mental health”.


Things They Definitely Don’t Teach You in School (What I Wish I Knew)
Nic Newling

When Nic Newling asks senior students what they believe the point of schools is, he is so often told it’s “to get a good job”. Despite an increasing focus on wellbeing programmes and holistic education in schools, why do so many students still believe they’re in nothing but a worker bee factory?
In this workshop Nic guides us through the pitfalls and personal learnings of someone who set out to achieve greatness but then completely failed high school. We’ll explore why students feel so much pressure to perform and why having tunnel vision toward a number-based exam result misses the point of learning entirely.
Nic shares the 11 things he wishes he knew in high school that only time and experience through failure could possibly teach him.