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World Kindness Day in Newcastle focuses on The Elephant in the Room


The founder of a new local initiative stood out in the crowd on the Newcastle coastline on World Kindness Day at the weekend.

Merewether resident, and Be Kind Newcastle creator, Michelle Boundy donned large ears and a long trunk to raise awareness about her mental health program, The Elephant in the Room.

She also spoke to people about compassion and consideration at Merewether and Dixon Park beaches on Sunday 13 November.

Ms Boundy launched Be Kind Newcastle at her engagement party in October with The Elephant in the Room as its first project.

As it was Mental Health Month, she wanted to shine a light on the kindness of Lifeline’s 131 114 volunteer crisis supporters in offering people hope and preventing suicide in the community.

She said the initiative struck a chord among residents, raising $25,000 for Lifeline Hunter to train and support seven more helpers.

“The response was so amazing we are continuing the project this year,” Ms Boundy said.

“Our Elephant in the Room mental health program aims to reduce the stigma of mental health within our community and encourage early help-seeking through organisations such as Lifeline.

“Lifeline Hunter urgently needs 20 new crisis supporters to keep up with a more than 20% increase in calls for support.

“It costs $3,500 to train and assist one, so we need $70,000 to meet the target of 20.”

Ms Boundy walked between Merewether and Dixon Park surf life saving clubs in her elephant suit, talking to the community about kindness and how displaying acts of kindness can change lives and our communities.

She also encourages people, as families, community groups or work teams, to come together to talk about good mental health and the role kindness can play.

“Being kind to each other, especially to people experiencing mental ill health, can make a positive difference to people’s lives,” she said.

“Any donation locals can make to obtain more crisis supporters is welcome.

“Teams may like to come together and have their own kindness event.

“If they can raise $3,500, they will enable a kind Lifeline volunteer to help make sure no call to 13 11 14 goes unanswered.”

Ms Boundy was Newcastle’s community kindness champion for the Stay Kind Foundation.

Her initiatives such as the 50 Walks Project, Bathers Way 50 Challenge and 50 Hearts Project promoted the value of acts of kindness in everyday life.

Be Kind Newcastle is her new vehicle to continue promoting kindness, with a focus on young people in Newcastle and the Hunter.

It is an enabling means to kindness, rather than a charity itself, which will support charities and projects that promote kindness.

“Through Be Kind Newcastle, we will undertake community projects each year to make our communities kinder and reduce bullying, violence, self-harm, and suicide among young Australians and the wider community,” Ms Boundy said.

To be involved visit

To donate to The Elephant in the Room, go to

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