Student Mental Health – Jennifer Oaten Principal


Tackling Student Mental Health

Santa Maria College‘s goal is to create a movement within our community to tackle student mental health. We can’t do it alone, we need your help, you have diverse, lived experiences and ideas which are valuable, and this is an opportunity for our community to work in partnership with, our staff, our parents and our students to develop a whole-school commitment to making a difference.

The increasing numbers and the complexity of wellbeing and mental health issues amongst students can’t be ignored, and this is why it is a focus area for our school. Research indicates that students with higher levels of emotional, behavioural and social wellbeing are more successful at school and in life beyond school.

We want staff, students and parents to ‘talk about it’ and become comfortable having conversations.  We want to develop a shared understanding and ensure all students know how to seek support. Our Mental Health Strategy will focus on three components knowledge, relationships and support and will include short, medium and long-term goals.

Knowledge includes:

Information for students, parents and staff about

  • mental health indicators,
  • how to respond,
  • prevention,
  • intervention and
  • the development of a common language that encourages conversations.

Relationships are about:

The importance of effective relationships between

  • student to student,
  • parent to student,
  • teacher to student, and
  • online.

It is also about positive mental health and the skills that are needed for effective relationships.

Support will provide:

  • pathways for help, and
  • how and who can help.

It will allow us to identify gaps, highlight opportunities in our current practices and change attitudes to seeking help.

We are delighted to have two students from each year group, Years 7-12, who will be our Mental Health Ambassadors and will form our student steering committee.  Our Years 5 and 6s will also have an opportunity to contribute through a special focus group along with other volunteers who will assist. If you are interested in being involved, please ensure you read the additional information I have sent out today via email and the SMC mobile app.

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