Hugh van Cuylenburg and Martin Heppell
Old Carey Grammarians (1998 and 1992)
'Mental illness is one of the biggest challenges facing our kids today. We need to provide them with the tools to be able to bounce back from adversity, so that throughout their lives, they don't just survive, they thrive.'
Martin and Hugh began their careers as educators, and reflecting on their respective life experiences led them to discover the power of resilience. Both have spent time with disadvantaged communities who get by with very little, but actively practice strategies which protect and nurture their mental health. Hugh volunteered and lived at an underprivileged school in the Himalayas for a year, and Martin spent part of his childhood living in remote Borneo due to his father’s work. These experiences not only changed their lives but their perception of what it means to be happy.
Inspired by these communities and subsequent postgraduate studies, Hugh discovered that through practising gratitude, empathy and mindfulness, we all have the potential to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. He began to embed these learnings into his own program for schools and from there, The Resilience Project was born.
The Resilience Project delivers emotionally engaging programs to schools, sports clubs and businesses, providing practical, evidence-based, positive mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness. To date, Martin and Hugh have developed and facilitated programs for more than 750 schools Australia-wide. With one in four adolescents and one in seven primary school children living with a mental illness, it’s Martin and Hugh’s hope that through the program they can help as many children as possible to become mentally healthy.