Tagged “Mental Health”

Every Individual Has a Role to Play

Aitken College, Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

Aitken College is a co-educational and independent preK–12 school serving families living in the northwest region of Melbourne. Students are encouraged to use their expanding knowledge as a basis for investigation, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. The school's well-being and mental health program is proactive, hands-on, skill-based, and data driven. The school has developed a core team, comprising a wide range of dedicated staff that raises awareness of well-being issues and develops different mental health and well-being initiatives. This core team is then able to inform policy and program development based around key concepts of student-staff well-being as a whole-school approach and that every individual has an important role to play.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Aitken College has a comprehensive life skills curriculum for all students that addresses self-image, self-esteem, relationships, sex and drug education, resiliency, bullying, mental health, and well-being. The school supports staff wellness, meditation classes for both staff and students, and a cybersafety group.

A Welcoming Community Provides a Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment

Guilford Young College, Glenorchy, Tasmania, Australia

Guilford Young College is a co-educational senior secondary school in Tasmania. The school prides itself on acknowledging the whole person, encourages achievement, participation, and service and commits itself to the development of lifelong learning and the respect for self and others. It is a welcoming, compassionate community that provides a safe and inclusive learning environment for all.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Guilford Young College has increased its knowledge and understanding of mental health and further embedded the importance of a whole school approach to health and well-being. Responsibility and leadership has been broadly distributed across the staff and a parent group provides an open and non-threatening forum for parents to raise their concerns about student well-being, to provide feedback on school policies that impact on students and families, and to provide expert input on mental health and social pressures for young people.

Building a Positive School Culture for Diverse Students

Woodville High School, Woodville, South Australia

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Woodville High School has a complex and diverse student population with students coming from 56 cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In 2010, 12 percent of students were identified as students with disabilities, 51 percent as English language learners, and nearly 40 percent are from non English-speaking backgrounds.

Recently well-being became a key focus of at Woodville High School and was incorporated into the site learning plan. Since then, the school has developed initiatives on youth empowerment, building relationships, as well as a "no blame" and a restorative approach to behavior management. School policies have been revised and new procedures around bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, have been developed. Staff are more confident and have the resources to address a range of mental health concerns and mentoring, parent, and community programs have been established.

Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Student Body

Coombabah State High School, Coombabah, Queensland, Australia

Coombabah State High School was established in 1986 as the community high school for the northern suburbs of the Gold Coast, serving students from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The student population has a high degree of mobility and this transient factor contributes to the increasing challenge for teachers to provide challenging and meaningful learning opportunities—at least 30 per cent of the student body is new to the school each year. The school offers many vocational education subjects ranging from hospitality, business, child care, multimedia, and health, to community and recreation. Students can also select from a vast range of academic subjects.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Coombabah State High School has been able to develop a supportive environment for all students and staff. For example, all year 8 teachers meet with student support teams, the head of the middle school, and outside personnel, including a mental health expert to identify at-risk students. Teachers are trained to quickly identify students who they feel are experiencing difficulties in the classroom in relation to coping skills, content, and social issues. The students are then interviewed and individual programs are developed to assist in the areas of concern.

Respecting and Valuing All Members of the Community

Kormilda College, Berrimah, Northern Territory, Australia

Kormilda College is an independent, coeducational, multicultural, day and residential secondary school serving the people of Northern Australia. The College was founded by the Northern Territory Government in 1967 to provide Aboriginal students living in isolated locations with access to secondary and further education. Kormilda College has grow into a vibrant multicultural learning community, with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, the majority of whom are day students from the greater Darwin area.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, the school has adopted a whole-school approach to pastoral care. Outcomes have included increased levels of resilience, more effective communication, mapping and managing mental health, promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity, and preventing harassment and bullying. The ultimate outcome is a positive school community, where all members are valued and respected.

School Organizes to Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Wagga Wagga Christian College, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Wagga Wagga Christian College is a coeducational K–12 school which fosters a family environment that develops responsibility and trust between peers and multi-aged young people. In 2007, the faculty determined the need to develop a welfare system to be proactive and responsive, not reactive. As a result the school has refined its transition programs, building stronger links with parents and the community beyond the school; expanded its student leadership program, empowering students at all levels of leadership; and implemented resilience programs, highlighting the safe use of social networks, cyberbullying, and sex education and relationships. Feedback is sought at parent association meetings about the mental health and well-being programs that could be implemented for students and parents.

Looking Beyond the Horizons for Positive Change and Well-Being

St. Pius X College, Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia

St. Pius X College located in the northern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, aims to promote the spiritual, academic, social, cultural, and physical growth of its students. Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, the College seeks to engage students, staff, parents, and the community to look beyond the horizons of the "now" and to imagine and realize a better world where a positive difference can be made. St. Pius X College allows all students to experience successes as well as providing the challenge for the attainment of excellence.

After experiencing the death of a student in 2005, a firm commitment was made to promote the importance of positive mental health and well-being of all members of the school community. Today, St. Pius X College has a greater sense of connectedness between students, empowering them to take the initiative to seek out help for each other and themselves, if the need arises. Additionally, there is a greater level of acceptance of the notion that every person's mental health and well-being is important and, through structured and informal activities across the whole school, there is an improved and strengthened net of care and support within the College.

Responding to Individual Student Needs Brings Success

Lake Macquarie High School, Booragul, New South Wales, Australia

Lake Macquarie High School is a small school on the north coast of New South Wales in Australia. Student welfare underpins the school's success and values of tolerance, understanding, responsibility, caring, respect, and cooperation are part of the school culture. An outstanding feature of the school is the experienced and dedicated teachers who deliver effective pastoral care programs that reinforce positive behaviors. Teachers regularly participate in training and development to support the school's commitment to excellence.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Lake Macquarie High School has used the framework to become more flexible in its approach to individual student needs. Resources and training are used to extend knowledge and perceptions around mental health issues and, as a result, students and parents are receiving personalized guidance and assistance on issues including self-harm, depression, eating disorders, and grief and loss.

Improving Well-Being and Learning Environments in the Middle East

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories, West Bank

Elham Palestine is a nationwide program extending throughout Gaza and the West Bank that aims at improving the physical, mental, psychological, and social well-being of Palestinian children and enhancing their learning environments to become more conducive for their well-being. The program seeks to recognize, develop, and create resources for the educational system from inspiring initiatives implemented by dedicated principles, counselors, teachers, and students. Elham utilizes a participatory approach which engages the youth, local communities, and a multi-stakeholder partnership that includes governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Elham is the Middle East setting of whole child partner Learning for Well Being and the principles and framework developed by the Universal Education Foundation. Learning for Well-Being seeks to promote child well-being across not only Europe and the Middle East, but also across each society. It focuses on all sectors of that society—health, mental health, social affairs, as well as education—aiming to influence policy development in and across each with regard to child well-being.

Addressing the Diverse Needs of Youth

Aberdeen, S.Dak.

From parent–child relationships to healthy eating habits to academic success, Aberdeen, S.Dak., is dedicated to providing its youth with a multitude of opportunities and services to ensure their future well-being and success.

At-risk youth can always rely on the New Beginnings Center to provide care, supervision, and treatment for abuse or mental health difficulties, while the Almost Home Program provides transitional living. Kids Konnection is a program designed to promote and maintain positive interactions with significant adults in children's lives, and Activate Aberdeen strives to tackle childhood obesity through a weight reeducation program.

Academically, students always have support as they strive for success: throughout high school, each student has a personal advocate who provides personalized attention. Because of its immense dedication to all aspects of the youth population, Aberdeen was also recognized by whole child partner America's Promise Alliance in the 100 Best Communities for Young People.

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