Nikolina Mabic shares her story with Hobsons Bay business bigwigs

Hobsons Bay mental health advocate Nikolina Mabic at Seaview Williamstown. (Foti Liacopoulos / Fotako Photography)

Hobsons Bay mental health advocate Nikolina Mabic shared her story with some local business bigwigs, in a keynote speech that left guests speechless, as they wined and dined for lunch at Seaview in Williamstown on Friday.

Nikolina Mabic needed no introduction to the event’s organisers, who in 2016 awarded the Williamstown resident a community grant, which was used to run a two-day mental health workshop for young women at the Newport Community Hub.

Before introducing herself, Nikolina Mabic took the opportunity to share a story with guests, about a little girl, who once lay on the living room floor paralysed in anxiety. Who sometimes never made it to school.

[Williamstown’s Nikolina Mabic wins Victorian Young Achiever Award]

“Who was bound to the house for many months because she couldn’t drive or sit in the car. About a girl who sat on a flight to Sydney, her feet suspended from the floor because she believed if she let them down the plane would drop from the sky,” Ms Mabic said.

“This little girl was taken to see a psychologist at the age of 7. At the age of 14 she was put on antidepressants and at 16 she would have her first suicidal thoughts.”

“She would finally be diagnosed with a Panic Disorder. And for many that brings a sigh of relief. The Label helps us categorise those pieces of the puzzle that don’t quite fit. And for a moment it seems like the picture may become clear. But labels only provide us with just that, a label.”

Nikolina Mabic sharing her story to business lunch guests at Seaview Williamstown. (Foti Liacopoulos / Fotako Photography)

“The label only came with a short list of treatments. If you google treatments for mental illness the top two results are considered to be medication and therapy.”

“For this young girl, the word holistic would be something she would not be taught, but rather discover along her journey.”

“She would grow up and film a documentary capturing people from all walks of life and their journeys with mental illness. These would include a Miss universe contestant and an NRL player. The documentary series is called ‘The First Giant Hurdle’. The title is from a George Lucas quote; not just because she is a massive Star Wars fan, but because of what the quote says, and it goes:

You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be place in front of you if you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.

“And with that she knew she would have to break through her brick walls and jump over her hurdles. The holistic tools enabled her to graduate from school, drive a car again and get back on a plane. So, she created Spare Capacity, an organisation that teaches young women self-care and holistic tools to combat mental illness, because all the other girls out there like her had to know they could do it too.”

“Her hurdles and brick walls echo those of the other 750,000 young people in Australia today with a mental illness. That works out to 1 in 4 young Australians and I am one in those 4.”

Nikolina Mabic receives a gift bag and flowers at Seaview Williamstown. (Foti Liacopoulos / Fotako Photography)

“My name is Nikolina Mabic and what you just heard was my story and in 2016 Hobsons Bay Community Fund awarded me a grant to run a 2-day mental health workshop for young women. To teach and impart on them the knowledge to combat mental illness through psychological, physical and nutritional tools.”

“And thanks to the money granted. In April of 2017 during National Youth Week, 12 young women attended the very first Spare Capacity Workshop at Newport Community Hub.”

“Those two days had an impact on those young women that I couldn’t have even imagined, and one participant even wrote to me after the workshop and I would love to read out now what she said.”

[Nikolina Mabic launches her award winning project Spare Capacity]

A really big thank you is in order as your workshop has significantly helped me with my own personal ongoing therapy and recovery with my depression and anxiety. The people I work with are very pleased to hear and see the changes I made alone in two days and are also grateful for your efforts in helping us young people. Congratulations on it all and I hope it progresses into something so much bigger for your sake and for people like me! p.s. I am currently on my third day drug free and regardless of the mental and physical strain it’s having on my body I feel determined to push through and achieve some goals for the first time in a very long time. So, thank you for helping me gain some motivation back.

“The HBCF vision states: That It acts as a trustworthy partner and leader in shaping collaborative and effective responses to community issues and opportunities. Today I can tell you that it has done, just that.”

“It is a big honour being a recipient of the fund. It was the first time in my journey that what I had envisioned creating so many years ago was now being recognised as possible.”

Nikolina Mabic engaging with business lunch guests at Seaview Williamstown. (Foti Liacopoulos / Fotako Photography)

“Because when I applied for the grant back in 2016, I was just Nikolina Mabic with a panic disorder and only shortly afterwards I became Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year for 2017, for my work in youth mental health.”

“The grant launched me to be able to realise my potential and this year I was awarded and won the Community Service and Social Impact Award at the Victorian Young Achiever Awards.”

“So, I would like to say the biggest thank you to you all, for supporting this event and to the HBCF as your support gave purpose to one young girls journey. That her suffering has led to something more, lead to the development of change in the way we treat and prevent mental illness.”

“Charitable giving made it possible, I hope you will all see the fruits of your investment into the community as a rich one, because my story is just one story.”

“I would love you now to turn your attention to the screen and see what those todays looked like now.”

“Thank you.”


24-Hour Telephone Counselling
If you need to talk to someone, call:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
  • Headspace on 1800 650 890
  • QLife on 1800 184 527

In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000)

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