Mental Fitness Ambassador - Lizi Simms

Lizi's role sees her connecting with a variety of young people and athletes, delivering a program which highlights the importance of mental fitness, and equips the individual with a toolkit of strategies to assist them in maintaining positive well-being. Lizi shares her journey of mental health, along with her elite sporting experiences, telling her story, the adversities she faced, and how she overcame them.

Lizi Simms, PLC Sydney PDHPE teacher and former Australian Water Polo representative, has recently been selected as a Mental Fitness Ambassador, on behalf of the Australian Institute of Sport and the Black Dog Institute.

Mental Fitness Program (MFP), sees current and former elite athletes deliver powerful talks to high school aged people about how to keep mentally fit through sharing evidence-based research and stories of resilience. The aim of the program is to leave young people with some simple, yet effective strategies to help them reflect and recognise gratitude moments, develop their mindfulness skills and start thinking about their meaning and purpose in life.

As an Ambassador, Lizi tries to show young people how essential it is to look after their mental well-being, but more importantly, how easy it can be if they spend a short amount of time prioritizing it.

'There are so many amazing resources available to help support young people and I am very grateful to be a part of something that aligns with my values so closely', Lizi said. 'Any school, sporting club, or organisation can sign up for a free 45-minute presentation where ambassadors such as myself, will come and present the program. I truly believe if I can touch one person, then my role is worthwhile. I have visited many schools including Barker College and Cranbrook and numerous sporting clubs and fundraising events - I even jumped out of a plane in an initiative called ‘Courage for a Cause’.

Lizi Simms jumped out of a plane in an initiative called ‘Courage for a Cause’ promoting mental health and positive well-being.

The opportunity came about for Lizzi as a previous Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder and former national representative in Water Polo. The ambassadors are all elite athletes, or have been, and all have a story to tell.

'Much like our girls here at PLC Sydney, I was a high achiever with goals and ambitions. And with success comes pressure. Being dropped from teams, questioning if I am good enough, trying to figure out who I am if I’m not an athlete, managing personal and others expectations, and trying to ensure my self-worth wasn’t directly related to my successes in the water, was certainly a challenge' Lizzi said. 'These feelings and experiences are similar to many young people in their own area of interest.'

As a PDHPE teacher at PLC Sydney, Lizzi is passionate about sport, well-being and health. She believes what young women have to face today in terms of social media, the Covid lockdown, and the pressures of school, exams, HSC etc mean that more than ever it is essential that each of us look after each other. As more role models, celebrities, and successful individuals come out and share their mental health journeys, this is also having a positively impact on our young people.

The current PDHPE curriculum now allows our students a chance to learn about these important topics and she for one is thankful she gets to support and educate students in their journey to become the best version of themselves they can.

When we feel heard and understood, and when we see our role models and people we are connected to, admit they’ve overcome adversities, it gives us hope and confidence that maybe we can do that too'

Lizi Simms
The Black Dog Institute is one of Australia’s only medical research driven organisations dedicated to helping people live mentally healthier lives through its efforts in research, clinical services and education programs.

To find out more about the Mental Fitness Program (MFP), click here.

Renee Jones

PLC Sydney Publications Manager