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Mentally Healthy School in Profile: Karratha Senior High School

Posted 17 Jun 2019

As a large high school in regional WA, Karratha Senior High School wanted to find a whole school and community program that would promote student wellbeing and was simple and effective to embrace.

As a school, we are open and transparent about how mental illness can impact on individual students, families, staff and community members. We also believe there is a strong link between a successful education and a students’ mental health and wanted to do the best we could for our students.

By embracing the Act-Belong-Commit message, we have actively promoted the importance of mental health promotion through our school Facebook pages, messages on our electronic notice boards around the school, focus talks by our Year Coordinators and monthly newsletters with full colour page promotions on how to be active, belong to a group or commit to a cause.

At whole school events such as the Swimming carnival and Athletics carnival, we have involved the whole school in various activities to promote being active and belonging to a faction group within their year group. For example, basketball, volleyball and futsal run alongside the pool at the swimming carnival, which encourages all students to participate in an activity.

By partnering with Act-Belong-Commit, we’ve been able to use their resources to promote the Act-Belong-Commit message in workshops, the first being a conference for Year 6 students to prepare them for high school, the second being for Year 10 students as they prepared for Senior School.

“ By promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message frequently, we are seeing students and staff become more positive, resilient and mentally healthy.”

At our second parent night, the Student Wellbeing Department promoted the message of a mentally healthy school by having a colouring in table for students, a Wheel of Wellbeing Game and table tennis alongside whole school activities.

In partnership with Act-Belong-Commit, staff have spoken to our students at year assemblies and promoted competitions such as PhotoVoice, which allow students to express themselves in a creative way and provide further opportunities to participate in mentally healthy activities.

We have found Act-Belong-Commit an accessible message to embed into the Health Curriculum across the whole school and into school events.

It has been easy to promote the Act-Belong-Commit message across the whole school for staff, students and parents. Through promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message, demonstrating its effectiveness and getting support from the Act-Belong-Commit team, we are seeing students’ and staff becoming more positive and resilient – both mentally and physically healthy.

As we place a priority on the importance of student wellbeing and mental health, we now have three Wellbeing Coordinators, six Year Coordinators and two Student Support Officers in place. Moving forward, our aim is to involve more support staff in using the mental health messages as an embedded part of the newly created staff wellbeing committee.

– Gina Martinovich, Level 3 Wellbeing Coordinator, Karratha Senior High School

How can my school get involved?

The great thing about the Mentally Healthy Schools Program is how flexible and adaptive it is. Each individual school decides how promotion of the Act-Belong-Commit principles are done in their school community. There are many options for all different needs, demographics, resources and capacities.

Any primary or secondary school in Western Australia can partner with us to promote the Act-Belong-Commit message. To find out more about the program and how your school can become more mentally healthy, get in touch.