When they called her name as this years recipient of the Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award she thought “no way”.
Nikolina Mabic, 23 year old film maker and mental health advocate was awarded first place for her project Spare Capacity at the 2018 Victorian Young Achievers awards ceremony on Friday May 18.
The award comes just days after the launch of Spare Capacity, her organisation offering holistic tools to young women in prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.
“I was shocked to even get into the semi finals, there were so many other applicants creating amazing projects around mental health,” said Mabic.
Nikolina is no stranger to the spotlight, having previously won Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year 2017 and was a part of the 2016 cohort of Young Social Pioneers at the Foundation for Young Australians.
“I am a really big believer that peoples stories and journeys can aid in other people journeys. Spare Capacity is providing more spaces and resources for sharing knowledge and stories,” said Mabic.
Nikolina’s story and project resonated strongly with the judges and she attributes her win to the relate-ability of her experience and the impact Spare Capacity has the bully to create.
Nikolina suffered from mental health problems from a young age, seeing her first psychologist at seven years old, by 14 she was medicated and had her first suicidal thoughts and self harm at 16.
Her fears and anxiety from her younger years grew into depression, to the point where she was housebound for nine months.
This experience inspired her to create Spare Capacity, which aims be the “first step to treating mental illness” and the “first intervention before seeking medication”.
“I wanted to create Spare Capacity to be that void, I wanted to help young women by giving them the tools so that they don’t develop those fears.”
Spare Capacity runs sessions around different ways to combat mental health.
“There is an emphasis on nutrition, physical exercise, barrier breaking, self confidence, mindfulness and art therapy.”
In the future Nikolina hopes to grow Spare Capacity.
“I had a vision that it would become a physical premises, that people would be able to come check in, and have access to a cafeteria, study spaces and meditation”
“But realistically the more mobile Spare Capacity is the more beneficial it will be,“ said Mabic.
Between starting up her own organisation, creating her documentary film series and her part time jobs, Nikolina sits on the board of Orygen Youth Health and works along side Hobsons Bay City Council and Headspace to develop workshops.
Nikolina would like to send a message to other young people out there hoping to purse their dreams.
“If you love something and manifest on it enough, write down your goals, anything you can show up to for an opportunity just do it, then you will open up a door. It is hard work, but if you try enough then something will eventually come to fruition”
Nikolina admits that juggling large commitments and and maintain your own health can be a struggle. Her key to success is to make sure you know when to say no and to have a close support network.
“The family aspect is so important, my mum is my biggest advocate and support, I was lucky enough to have a great family that understands mental illness, “ said Mabic.
Despite the fear associated with putting her story out in the public Nikolina says the whole process has been beneficial to her own health as well as hoping to help others.
“I never went into it with the intention to heal myself, but the time and effort I put into sharing my story is healing for me, as I get to share it I kind of let go of it, ” said Mabic.
In the future Nikolina hopes to continue her work in the mental health advocacy field and finish the release of her documentary series.
A Spare Capacity mental health and wellbeing workshop will be running on Sunday June 17 at Newport Community Hub.
Spare Capacity Health & Wellbeing Workshop
Sun. 17 June 2018
9:30 am – 5:30 pm AEST
Newport Community Hub
You can purchase tickets to Spare Capacity Health & Wellbeing Workshop through the link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/spare-capacity-health-wellbeing-workshop-tickets-45155718971
If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this article, you can contact:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
or visit https://www.eheadspace.org.au