Today, we continue the conversation with an educator turned social entrepreneur dedicated to championing for “our kids”. As the most recent QLD Australian of the Year, Rachel Downie is taking the tragedy of losing a Year 9 student years ago to suicide and harnessing it, into a reporting tool called Stymie – that she developed and self-funded to support young people to anonymously report harm to their peers and to themselves.
In 2019, Stymie schools reported more than 48,000 notifications from concerned students. More than 600 000 students nationally have been exposed to this culture-changing tool; as family violence, bullying, cyber-bullying, depression, illegal activity, harassment and self-harm are all being reported by young people. Through Rachel’s tireless efforts towards a better culture of care in our schools, we are beginning to get a more clear picture of what young people are really facing out there.
What a brilliant tag line that's gaining incredible traction!!!
When she isn’t “inventing stuff”, you can find Rachel living on the Gold Coast of Australia with her beautiful wife, surfing and painting when she gets a spare moment.
The Goods on Rachel:
25 years ago, Rachel Downie became an educator because she wanted to help our young people flourish. After losing a Year 9 student to suicide, Rachel decided that she needed to find a way to support our young people to say something when things ‘aren’t right’. She discovered that in emergent situations, students often felt too frightened to come forward with possible life-saving information, due to peer expectations. This led Rachel to developing and self-funding Stymie – a tool that allows students to anonymously report any form of harm without fear.
Rachel developed Stymie (an old-fashioned word meaning ‘stop’) with extensive consultation and help from students and educators; since 2014 Rachel has presented Stymie to more than 600 000 students nationally and students have used it to save and change lives.
Implemented both nationally and internationally, students are using Stymie to report family violence, bullying, cyber-bullying, depression, illegal activity, harassment, self-harm, and harm to their communities. In 2019, Stymie schools received more than 48 000 notifications from concerned students, empowering them to use their empathy and conscience to report harm, and further the culture of care in their schools.
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