Meet Our Staff: Majella Dennis
What is your role at the College and what does this involve?
This term, I will be supporting the implementation of our Mental Health Strategy. While I am joining the wonderful psychology team, my focus will be on whole school initiatives and wellbeing projects. I will be working from Wednesday to Friday each week in Term 4.
You previously worked at Santa Maria, what have you been doing since you left us?
The short answer: lots of things! After I left Santa Maria, I moved back to Central Queensland to be closer to family as my husband and I welcomed our three children. We later moved to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and then to Brisbane to pursue both opportunity and adventure.
In this time, I established a private psychology practice and also worked as a school psychologist in a number of primary, secondary and K – 12 schools.
We returned to Perth earlier this year by way of a two-month road trip across the bottom half of Australia. While we are missing our family over east, we are absolutely loving the Perth lifestyle once more.
Most recently, I have been busy opening a small psychology clinic in Fremantle. I am really enjoying being part of the fantastic network of mental health practitioners in the area.
What are you looking forward to most about your role?
I’m passionate about supporting communities to build and nurture compassionate and inclusive cultures where all people feel they belong. Santa Maria has been a leader in this area for a long time, and I’m very excited to be part of the innovation and creativity that is present here in the area of mental health and wellbeing.
What is the best thing we can do to maintain positive mental health?
There are so many things we can do to enhance our mental health and wellbeing. I would have to say that a game changer for me over the past couple of years has been the work of Dr Kristin Neff in self-compassion.
Often, we can fall into the trap of being hard on ourselves because we think this will motivate us to succeed. In actual fact, this approach can create so much additional tension and suffering for us (and the people around us). We are at our best when we are shown compassion and empathy – which we, as much as any other person in our life, deserve from ourselves.
How do you unwind?
I love to get out in nature with my kids, and our family are keen campers. It seems there is no stress or problem that isn’t soothed at least a little bit by a big sky, deep breaths and good company.