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50th school signs up to Mentally Healthy Schools program

Churchlands Senior High School recently became the 50th Western Australian school to join the Chevron-funded Mentally Healthy Schools program.


Mount Lawley Senior High School students Taonga Sendama, Olivia Trahair, Max Tran, Elgin Sooraj, Georgia Kuzmanovich and Emily Pietrocola are working to boost student mental health.
Mount Lawley Senior High School students Taonga Sendama, Olivia Trahair, Max Tran, Elgin Sooraj, Georgia Kuzmanovich and Emily Pietrocola are working to boost student mental health.

The Mentally Healthy Schools Program now delivers the Act-Belong-Commit message to nearly 50,000 Western Australian school students to help build resilience and self-esteem among the whole school community. Act-Belong-Commit is based on research conducted by Curtin University into people’s perceptions of mental health, and the behaviours they believed protected and promoted good mental health.

The Mentally Healthy Schools Program is supported through a comprehensive partnership with Chevron Australia, which delivers a range of programs with a specific focus on the towns of Karratha and Onslow, the Aboriginal community of Roebourne and schools throughout the state.

“Becoming a Mentally Healthy School helps educators provide their students with the knowledge and encouragement to do things that protect and promote their own mental health and wellbeing,” said Mentally Healthy Schools Program Coordinator, Phoebe Joyce.

“When we started this partnership with Chevron, our goal was to have 40 WA schools participating in the program by August, so to have reached 50 schools already is a great indication that mental health promotion and early prevention is becoming a priority.”

While there has been an increased emphasis on preventative health investment, the focus still remains on physical health. Mental health prevention and promotion should be of equal importance to help young people to avoid the development of mental illnesses. In 2015 alone, 145 young people between the ages of 15 and 19 died from suicide. (ABS, 2016.)

Churchlands Senior High School Psychologist, Tenille Wright, said, “We hope by promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message around the school, it not only educates young people about how they can prevent the onset of mental illness, but also encourages them to participate in activities the school offers to be active, join in, and do good things for others.”

Mount Lawley Senior High School has been a Mentally Healthy School since 2014, promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message throughout their whole school community.  They recently implemented a year 12 Student Wellbeing Committee to work across the school, and create a healthier environment.

“You can see there’s a real community vibe developing through the partnership with Act-Belong-Commit,” a student representative said.

“I think it creates an open environment and has just become a part of our culture, we’re very fortunate,” another student added.

To find out more about the Schools Program, or how you can be more mentally healthy, visit the Act-Belong-Commit website.