MindMatters in Minutes. What is Mental Health?
Part two! Why schools? School.
If you wanted to improve the mental health of an entire population,
one of the best places you could start is at school.
For one thing, most of us go to school. For 10 years of our lives we have this one
thing in common, so it’s a place where you can pretty much
catch everyone. High school in particular spans a crucial
and often challenging transition into physical and social maturity.
It’s a time when some young people are vulnerable to stresses
and in need of support. Research has shown that protective factors
developed in school can help all students, and they can also offset risk factors from
elsewhere in a student’s life. This means that for some students, school
can be a haven. Actions taken in school can have a big impact
on a student’s wellbeing, not just in the short term but over their
entire lives. And the effect is not limited to wellbeing:
mental health is a foundation of school achievement. Positive mental health can translate into
good behaviour, good habits, good attendance, positive community,
and good grades. If every school were producing students with
good mental health, we would see a ripple effect across the entire
nation, for everyone’s benefit. MindMatters is a framework that helps school
staff at every level make this vision possible. It is NOT a program to turn you into a mental
health professional. You already have a job.
It’s not a set of lesson plans. Instead, MindMatters is a way of approaching
what you already do on a day to day basis, from the way you smile at students,
to the types of conversations you have in the staff room,
to the opportunities you take to empower your students.
Using the MindMatters framework, school staff can take a strategic, targeted approach to
mental health and create better outcomes for staff and students
alike, within our classes, our schools and across
the nation.

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Methew Wade

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