It’s Mental Health Week – a wonderful opportunity for us as a community to de-stigmatise the issues surrounding mental health. Beyond Blue reports that over 75% of mental health issues occur before the age of 25. Recently, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a national survey around the mental health of the nation. One of the findings states that “almost two in five people (39.6%) aged 16 – 24 years had a 12-month mental disorder” and Beyond Blue reports that almost one in 5 people aged 11 – 17 years suffered from poor mental health. These statistics alone highlight the imperative that we as a community must work together to help our young people navigate these issues.
One of the most powerful things we can do to improve young people’s mental health is to destigmatise mental health and to empower our young people with preventative measures. This week, our Counselling and Wellbeing Teams put together a program that opened up the conversation around mental health and introduced our students to services focussed on supporting young people. We were fortunate enough to have Wyndham Youth Services, headspace, The Huddle (North Melbourne Football Club), and our very own Counselling Team connecting with our students and offering them resources and support. We also held a number of activities, including asking R U OK, to highlight the importance of good mental health and to give our young people ways to enhance that.
As we grow our Counselling and Wellbeing Teams, we will continue to focus on arming our young people with strategies, with avenues for professional help, with support, and with the knowledge that mental health is a big part of our overall health and wellbeing. We express our enormous gratitude to Jessica Galicia and Justine Surrao, our Counselling Team, for the work and commitment to not only this week but to every week, every day, and to the Wellbeing Team for their constant support and connectedness with the young people in their care.
As families, we play a pivotal role in the good mental health and wellbeing of our young people. It can be a frightening time when our child is suffering from poor mental health. It is up to us to advocate for our children and to arm ourselves with resources and services to support them during this time. A visit to your GP is a terrific place to start if you are concerned about your child’s mental health. They will point you in the right direction and assist with connecting you with the services available for young people. Headspace offers a range of resources for families and is very much an excellent centre of best practice in youth mental health. I encourage you all to take some time to explore the website and to start the conversation about mental health at home.
– Ivanka Spiteri: Deputy Principal: Student Engagement and Wellbeing