Strategies, stigma, support, skills and hope . . .These were some of the topics touched on in today's Youth Mental Health Forum . . .
Tuesday 1 June, 2021 Strategies, stigma, support, skills and hope . . . These were some of the topics touched on in today's Youth Mental Health Forum for Secondary Schools hosted by the College. With speakers from local organisations such as HeadSpace, students were given the opportunity to learn more about identifying how they and others are going, steps they can take that can make a difference and skills to employ when we go through tough times. Students participated in panel questions and answer sessions with local support workers including: mental health clinicians, an adolescent psychologist and an aboriginal mental health worker. Participants were challenged by the question: What is mental health? Discussions centered around mental health being a state of well being - people not just surviving but thriving; each of us learning resilience and establishing and tapping into support networks which help maintain positive mental health and help us cope with life's challenges. Asking for help when needed is key and is a strength to help us move towards a state of thriving. Asking for help isn't always a verbal expression but can be expressed through creative forms such as music, art and the written word. Student Perspective by Eliora The Youth Mental Health Forum was all about educating young people to aid each other in their mental health. The day was a collaboration of a number of organisations such as Burn Bright, Headspace, Catholic Education, Department of Education, Suicide Prevention Network, the City of Wagga Wagga, and NSW School-Link. Throughout the day we heard from a range of presenters including Stephen McMullen, School Psychologist from Mount Austin High School; Jasmine William, an Aboriginal Mental Health worker; Dr Matthew Lynch, a child and adolescent psychologist; and Kaitlyn Robinson, Mental Health Clinician. The day was really engaging with a range of activities to get involved in including Speed Dating and Word Tennis. Speed dating was a fun activity where the students had to go from one chair to another and find out a particular fact about their new friend. Word Tennis was a challenging activity where you were giving a topic and had to 'bounce' word off each other until someone either repeated a word or could not find a word that related to the given topic. These games plus small group times allowed us to mix with students from other secondary schools including Wagga High School, Griffith and Narrandera High and TRAC. It was great to be able to hear other’s experiences and to be able to share our own school’s insight into student led wellbeing programs. Some of the main points I took away from the day were that it isn’t our job to fix the problem, you can provide the help you can provide. Robinson suggested we should ask: “Do you need help? How do you want help?” If they don’t want help respect their decision but keep checking in and tell a trusted adult.