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Mentally Healthy School in Profile: Atwell Primary School

Posted 19 Aug 2019

Atwell Primary School joined the Mentally Healthy Schools Program to promote and increase student, parent and teacher awareness of what it means to be mentally healthy, as well as the steps they can take to achieve this.

The aim of implementing the Act-Belong-Commit campaign was to support students’ mental wellbeing and to increase and reinforce the importance of participating in mentally healthy activities, both in and out of school. We also saw the opportunity to upskill teachers in mental wellbeing and to network and build partnerships with other schools throughout WA.

Through embedding Act-Belong-Commit into our school community, we have placed an increased focus on student mental wellbeing. This has been in everything from the development of events and programs through to incorporating messaging into our newsletter, teacher professional development, and various activities such as our before-school fitness and Act-Belong-Commit Poster Competition.

In 2017, we decided to focus on mindfulness as a way to support students experiencing anxiety and as a way to help them build and develop their resilience skills. As a result, teachers have adopted mindfulness-based activities to use in the classroom on a daily basis.

“The importance of participating in mentally healthy activities has been reinforced, with students making individual pledges to take on a more active role to participate in these types of activities.”

Our school prides itself on running programs and events that support the Act-Belong-Commit message, such as NAIDOC Week, Healthy Breakfast, Activate Atwell and Harmony Day. Our next whole school event supporting the Act-Belong-Commit message will be the Atwell Primary School Wellness Day where over 700 students will take part in a mindfulness-based yoga class run by a professional yoga teacher, as well as mindfulness-based activities within the classroom.

Within this short period, awareness has grown amongst the school community – inclusive of students, teachers and parents. Students have pledged to take on a more active role in mentally healthy activities, and teachers have had increased opportunities to discuss mental health and mental illness, taking steps to support not only students, but colleagues too.

We look forward to seeing how we can further network with other schools and reach parents and the community.

Read more from our Mentally Healthy Schools Partners in our Mentally Healthy Schools Case Studies handbook, featuring nine of our partner schools across WA.