Issues Magazine

Program for Student Mental Health

Issues 80: Mental Health

Issues 80: Mental Health

By beyondblue

In October 2012 the Australian government announced it will send mental health specialists into secondary schools in the aftermath of a student suicide.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said the $20 million policy will save many lives as the teams identify warning signs and prevent copycat suicides.

Ms Carnell said the push to prevent student suicides and improve young people’s mental health has been strengthened with the recent release of a new online e-learning module designed by beyondblue to help school teachers improve students’ resilience. “The module, which is aimed at improving teachers’ understanding of the link between students’ thoughts and behaviour, forms part of beyondblue’s hugely successful SenseAbility program,” she said.

“The SenseAbility program is a series of teaching modules designed to enhance the ability of students aged 12–18 to deal with challenging emotional and psychological situations through classroom activities such as role-playing and group discussion. Young people who possess good social and emotional skills are better able to cope with the stresses of daily life and tend to have better relationships and perform better academically.”

Ms Carnell said schools’ feedback indicates the program has improved students’ ability to cope with the day-to-day challenges they face.

“The SenseAbility team at beyondblue has been delivering workshops to teachers nationally for two years to support the program’s implementation but has been unable keep up with demand,” she said. “This e-learning program has been developed in response to this demand. It means teachers can now learn it in at a time and location that suits them without waiting to attend a workshop.”

The SenseAbility kit includes an introduction booklet, teacher modules, student journals, CDs of curriculum materials and resources and a DVD. It is now available for the 2013 school year.

To find out about SenseAbility visit www.beyondblue.org.au/senseability. Clips from the introductory DVD can be viewed at www.youtube.com/SenseAbilityOfficial