Mental health and wellbeing are celebrated at Armidale High School and they have just received an award for their effort.
Mental Health First Aid Australian has awarded the school a Gold, Medium Workplace Badge for their commitment to health and wellbeing.
All teachers at the school are now accredited having completed a mental health first aid course.
The course was designed to give teachers the confidence to help students who seek their assistance and be on the front foot in identifying potential mental health issues within the school.
Wellbeing teacher Fiona Kelly said the course touched on a wide range of mental health issues.
“They covered everything from heavy topics like suicide through to more basic forms of anxiety,” she said.
Mental health has become a priority for the school who now employs two wellbeing teachers and a psychologist.
We can’t just shove mental health issues under the carpet anymore,” Ms Kelly said.
The school is also educating their year student on the importance of wellbeing with year 10 students undertaking a similar mental health first aid course.
“If we’re helping students be aware of their own mental health needs, then we're not catching things too late, Ms Kelly said.
The School’s head of wellbeing Annette Callister said the school was really working towards providing an environment where wellbeing was celebrated.
“Not everyone has a background in psychology … it can be really confronting for someone to approach you with a really serious concern,” she said.
“It is very much about raising awareness and providing staff with strategies that they can employ to support a young person to get help.
“It’s also important to note that this is not an expectation that staff will deal with those really complex issues ... but it is just to support them with the initial contact they might have.
“Mental health concerns are a growing area around young people.
“The course empowers staff to feel like that can address and support those with concerns.”
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