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Cowboys playing the long game to build resilience

The mental health and wellbeing of young North Queenslanders is improving through their involvement in a collaborative program between The Resilience Project and the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, an evaluation study has found.

The Cowboys and The Resilience Project have delivered the program to over 100 schools across northern Queensland since 2018, reaching 31,000 students through presentations and curriculum delivery.

In comparing North Queensland program and non-program schools, the evaluation demonstrates that program participation has a positive impact across key mental health and wellbeing indicators including depression, anxiety, engagement, life satisfaction and hope.

Around 3 in 10 primary students and 4 in 10 secondary students in the North Queensland region reported high levels of depression symptoms, anxiety or both, with the program proving successful in reversing the higher than national average statistics.

The evaluation found that both primary and secondary students not participating in the program experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression and reduced levels of life satisfaction and hope.

The Resilience Project CEO Ben Waterman said the report reinforces the beneficial and cumulative positive effects of a long-term approach to building resilience and positive mental health.

“The program has been incredibly successful in improving student mental health and having a positive impact on the lives of the young people in the North Queensland region,” he said.

“However, while we’ve seen positive results across key indicators of mental wellbeing, the young people involved in the program still report outcomes that show we need to continue to support them on their mental health journey.


“We think this demonstrates that preventative programs like The Resilience Project should be considered an essential component of any strategy to protect and support our children and youth.”

The Resilience Project has been rolled out by the Cowboys in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay as well as regional areas including Pioneer Valley, Herberton and Tully, with funding from Northern Queensland Primary Health Network, Navarre Minerals, Collinsville Community Association and Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network during 2018-2022.

The program is delivered to participating Townsville schools and supported by the Bishop Michael Putney Fellowship in 2023.

Cowboys Chief Community & Government Relations Officer Fiona Pelling said the study provides important insights into how the program is benefiting the community.

“This collaborative project has demonstrated a real and positive impact across key indicators of mental health and wellbeing, including engagement, life satisfaction and hopefulness,” she said.


The Cowboys are proud to partner with The Bishop Michael Putney Fellowship to deliver The Resilience Project into...

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“In partnership with our schools, The Resilience Project and funding partners, we’ve built a more resilient North Queensland community.

“The study shows the program’s approach is working and we want to make sure we can build on these results and ideally engage non-program schools through sustained funding from government and industry partners aligned to supporting the mental health of our young people.”  

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.