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The BIG picture The Health and Wellbeing Project Health and Wellbeing Project - ‘ Working with school teams to enhance the health and wellbeing of students and those who work with them’ Curriculum Who? Trained Facilitators: Education Department Catholic Education Independent Schools

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The BIG picture

The Health and Wellbeing Project

Health and Wellbeing Project - ‘Working with school teams to enhance the health and wellbeing of students and those who work with them’


  • Who?

  • Trained Facilitators:

  • Education Department

  • Catholic Education

  • Independent Schools

  • Health Providers:

  • -DEN

  • -Family Planning

  • -Drug & Alcohol

  • Services

  • -Sexual Health Branch

  • -Others?

School climate:



  • What?

  • 4 Commonwealth Health

  • Strategies:

  • National School Drug

  • Education Strategy

  • National Mental Health

  • Strategy

  • National Youth Suicide

  • Prevention Strategy

  • National Sexual Health

  • Strategy


Health Promoting Schools: A whole

school approach to mental health

Mind Matters:Why

WhatTo build and enhance resilience and connectedness


School climate

Caring relationships

Welfare/pastoral care

Discipline policy & practice

Support during transition

Opportunities for participation


With families, community & services


Broad & inclusive

Interactive & cooperative classroom work based on high expectations

Teachers supported by professional development

Personal & social values development

Comprehensive health education

Support for literacy & numeracy

Health Promoting Schools Framework

Mental Healtha holistic sense of wellbeing

Enjoy life

Cope with change and challenge

Survive pain, disappointment and sadness

Believe in one’s own worth

Believe in others’ dignity and worth

Why mental health promotion should be a part of core school business

  • Social & emotional well-being affects

    • Schooling outcomes

    • Social development

    • Capacity to contribute to workforce/community

    • Reduction in rate of youth suicide

  • Mental health problems are associated with higher rates of truancy, suspension, exclusion, school alienation

Why mental health promotion should be a part of core school business

  • A sense of connectedness or attachment to school is a protective factor for young people

  • Schools can engage in deliberate strategies to develop & maintain a supportive environment

  • Child & adolescent mental health problems are frequently first identified at school

  • Families are likely to consult teachers & other student services as their first step in seeking help

Core aims of Mental Health

  • To develop Resilience: the capacity to cope and bounce back during difficult times

  • To be able to Cope: the thoughts, feelings & actions one takes to deal with change or challenge

  • To be able to Connect or Belong: to interact and involve yourself with others

    (Mind Matters, 2000)

Connectedness.Schools/families/communities enhance connectedness when they …

  • Build caring relationships with young people, offering support, compassion, understanding, trust

  • Have high and achievable expectations, offering respect, guidance, affirmation and acknowledgment, building on strengths

  • Provide opportunities for participation and contribution

    Benard (1997) A Framework for Practice: Tapping Innate Resilience, Resiliency in Action

Unstimulating content

Unrelated to the student

Small range of choice

Lack of student participation in decisions about curriculum content, process & assessment

Passive teaching-learning strategies

Minimal interaction with teacher & peers

Lack of cooperative activity based & independent learning

Competitive exam dominated assessment

One off rather than progressive assessment

Risk factors – school curriculum

Unsupportive school culture


Uncaring, violent

Negative teacher/student relationships

Lack of respect, fairness or acceptance

Lack of interaction

Negative peer relationships

Bullying, isolation

Sexist or racist harassment

Presence of antisocial peer groups or gangs

Absence of school counsellors

Difficulty in accessing support of school counsellors

Risk factors – school climate

Lack of student participation

In decision making structures or school organisation

Students not seen as capable of productive involvement

Poor school/home relationships

Inadequate provision of professional development

Inability of staff to adapt to societal & educational change or to changing needs & behaviours of students

Risk factors – school climate

Youth in good health – what do you think?

  • Two-thirds of young people rate their health as excellent or very good

  • Death rates down

  • Teenage pregnancy up

  • Syphilis down

  • HIV infection rate down

  • Mental disorders up

  • School retention rates to year 12 down

    Australia’s Young People – Their Health & Wellbeing 1999. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare.

Young People & Mental Illness

  • Over 20% of 12-16 year olds have a mental health problem (23% of males, 18% of females)

  • 27% of 18-24 year olds have a mental health disorder

  • Depression is one of the commonest conditions

  • 24% of young people will experience depression by 18

  • Females are more likely to experience depression & eating disorders

  • Males are more likely to experience substance abuse disorders

    Australia’s Young People – Their Health & Wellbeing 1999. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare.

Drug Use

  • Smoking

    • 25% of 14-19 year olds smoke

  • Substance use disorders in 18-24 year olds

    • 20% males (12% alcohol, 9% cannabis)

    • 10% females

      Australia’s Young People – Their Health & Wellbeing 1999. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare.

Non-participation in sport/exercise

  • 32% of 12-14 year olds

  • 44% of 15-19 year olds

  • 59% of 20-24 year olds

    do NOT actively participate in sport or physical activity

    So what are they doing to interact, contribute, participate, have fun?

    Australia’s Young People – Their Health & Wellbeing 1999. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare.

Sexual Activity

  • Before 15 years of age only 11% of males & 9% of females have initiated sex

  • At age 17 its approximately 40%

  • By age 18 around 50%

    Australia’s Young People – Their Health & Wellbeing 1999. Australian Institute of Health & Welfare.

Sexual Health

  • Alcohol and other drug use are major predictors of unsafe sexual practices

  • 18% of sexually active year 12 girls rely on withdrawal for contraception

  • Ignorance of safe sex practices other than condoms

  • 13% of sexually active year 10 and 12 students

    • Binge drink weekly

    • Have intercourse with casual partners

    • Use condoms inconsistently or not at all

      Talking Sexual Health 1999 C/W Dept Health & Aged Care


  • 8-11% of senior secondary students do not identify as exclusively heterosexual

  • 46% of same-sex attracted y/p have been abused – 70% of that abuse occurred at school, 3% by teachers

  • Teachers find it difficult to challenge homophobic attitudes

    Talking Sexual Health 1999 C/W Dept Health & Aged Care


  • Around 1 in 7 children are bullied

  • Bullying affects learning outcomes

  • Bullying peaks in lower secondary years

  • Boys are more often perpetrators and victims

  • Bullies can appear to be popular (high status), but are often disliked


  • 40% of year 8 students believe no-one knows them well

  • Nearly a quarter of students have

    • No-one to talk to if they’re upset

    • No-one to trust

    • No-one to depend on

      Glover et al 1998


  • A lot of research now recognises that there exists a direct and critical link between social and emotional well-being, and learning outcomes

  • The implications for schools and teachers is obvious: teaching and learning must be student focused, not content driven

Caring & supportive teachers

High expectations on learning process

Clearly stated rules

Opportunities to participate & be responsible

Positive reinforcement for participation

Belief in values of school

Connectedness (feeling part of the school & close to people there)

Availability of counselling from teachers & student welfare staff

So what can the school do?Assist students to develop protective factors

YOU CAN DO IT!Program Achieve

  • A curriculum of lessons for teaching students how to achieve success & develop social-emotional well-being

  • 6 volumes (grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, & 11-12)

Program Achieve

  • Based around 5 units:

    • Getting started (5 lessons)

    • Confidence (6 lessons)

    • Persistence (6 lessons)

    • Organisation (6 lessons)

    • Getting along (6 lessons)

  • Requires approximately 50 minutes per lesson


Grade 1-2:

  • Successful students are…..

  • It’s in the bag

  • Introducing the 4 keys of success

Mind Matters

  • A mental health promotion resource for secondary schools

  • This resource is best used as part of a whole school approach to the promotion of mental health


Mind Matters: 3 overarching booklets

  • School Matters

  • Educating for Life

  • Community Matters

School Matters:Mapping and Managing Mental Health in Schools

  • This document provides schools with a framework and planning tools to assist them with possible structures, strategies, partnerships and curriculum programs to promote and protect the mental health of all members of the school community

School Matters:Audit Activity

  • Fill out the sheet related to “curriculum teaching & learning”

Educating for Life:A Guide for School-based Responses to Preventing Self-harm and Suicide

  • This guide outlines the policies, processes and practices that contribute to a comprehensive approach to suicide

Educating for Life:Answer questions in a small group

  • What if a teacher is considering teaching about suicide as part of the H or personal development curriculum?

  • What if the issue of suicide comes up in the context of another study, eg. a film or book?

  • What if a student selects suicide as the focus of a research question?

  • What if the topic of suicide arises spontaneously during class discussion?

  • What if a visiting theatre group offers a suicide awareness program for students?

Community Matters:Working with Diversity for Wellbeing

  • This document explores identity, culture and community and suggests strategies for managing the wellbeing needs of diverse groups of students, particularly those who may feel marginalised for social reasons, within the contexts of school and broader communities

Community Matters:Hypotheticals activity

With a partner (matched pairs) choose 1 hypothetical to answer the following:

  • Brainstorm the structures & strategies your school has in place that would help these students make connections

  • What else could your school do to strengthen connections for all students?

Mind Matters: 5 curriculum units

  • Enhancing Resilience 1

  • Enhancing Resilience 2

  • Dealing with Bullying & Harassment

  • Understanding Mental Illnesses

  • Loss & Grief

Enhancing Resilience 1:Communication, Changes & Challenges

  • There are 4 sections to this booklet which aim to enhance resilience via the promotion of communication, participation, positive self-regard, teamwork and a sense of belonging and connectedness to school

  • These sections are particularly useful with new groups

The 4 sections are:

Creating connections

- activities for the home group, pastoral care or core curriculum teacher, focusing on issues of communication, codes of behaviour & teamwork

Friendship & belonging

activities for the English class exploring the challenge of making and maintaining friendships

Games collection

a collection of interactive games designed to promote communication, cooperation and teambuilding

People, identity & culture

- activities for the SOSE class exploring personal & social identity, and addressing issues of belonging and culture

Enhancing Resilience 1

Enhancing Resilience 1 Activities

  • Creating connections – Matched Pairs (used in Community Matters activity)

  • Games collection – Human Bingo

Enhancing Resilience 2:Stress & Coping

  • This booklet, in 2 sections, guides schools in their focus on enhancing the resilience and connectedness of their students

  • It deals with the importance of providing ongoing opportunities for participation and communication, creating a positive school culture, friendly relationships, and valuing school & community

Enhancing Resilience 2

The 2 sections are:

  • Coping – activities in which students identify some of the stresses and challenges young people have to deal with, and explore the range of emotions commonly associated with feelings of stress

  • Stressbusters - activities in which students explore the role and effect of support groups, the role of trust & courage in help-seeking behaviour, and explore conflict resolution and stress management techniques

Enhancing Resilience 2 activity

  • Coping - ‘What if’ scenarios

  • In your group (use playing cards to choose 4 groups) sit in a circle with cards face down, spin the pen, person selected chooses a card & attempts to answer the question

Dealing with Bullying and Harassment

  • This booklet, in 3 sections, guides schools in their attempts to take a whole school approach to dealing with bullying and harassment

Dealing with Bullying and Harassment

The 3 sections are:

  • Facing Facts – for use in Health classes by defining and giving examples of different types of B & H

  • Giving Voice – for use in the English class by exploring the language of B

  • Defining Moments – for use in the Drama class by exploring the body language of status & power

Understanding Mental Illnesses

  • This document provides an overview of the issues a school may face in relation to mental illnesses among students, staff and families

Understanding Mental Illnesses activity

  • 5 groups allocated to:

    • Sue

    • Natalie

    • Sharon & Tina

    • Mark, Martin & Alysia

    • Angela & Angelo

  • Read the questions, concentrate on your character but be aware of all of the others too

  • Watch Video Section 1 & answer ALL the questions, then we will discuss them

Answers to Understanding Mental Illnesses activity

  • 5 groups allocated to:

    • Sue (schizophrenia)

    • Natalie (obsessive compulsive disorder)

    • Sharon & Tina (anorexia)

    • Mark, Martin & Alysia (depression)

    • Angela & Angelo (bipolar disorder)

Loss & Grief

  • This document provides an overview of school practices relevant to dealing with death and loss within the school

Loss & Grief activity

  • ‘Helping a friend’ –Answer the following question:

    What could each of the following do to support someone whose father had just died?

    • The class

    • Best friends

    • The school

MESH Mental, emotional, social & spiritual health

  • This program aims to provide comprehensive primary prevention and early intervention for all students K-adult

  • This program includes a systematic effort to educate, identify, assess, refer & support students to optimise education, psycho-social protective factors, health, well-being & life development

    (Contact Nairn Walker –

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