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Mentally Healthy School in Profile: Melville Senior High School

Posted 2 Sep 2019

We feel strongly that government, local agencies and schools need to and can do more for the mental health of our teens, the next generation.

The statistics within our school were rising in regards to mental health issues and although we cannot solve the myriad of issues that cause the problems, we believed we could educate to minimise some of them. We wanted something to complement our existing Health Curriculum and provide students with strategies to improve or maintain their mental health with a positive approach.

Act-Belong-Commit provided us with the resources to educate staff and students on the campaign, and over the course of 2017, we focused on getting the message to students through our Health curriculum and annual Health Week event.

In Term 3, we held an introductory Act-Belong-Commit Health lesson for all Year 7-10 students to introduce them to the message, analyse their level of commitment to the areas and provide some strategies to improve their mental health.

“93% of students know why it is important to look after their mental health and 90% know some ways of how they can do so.”

We also ran Act-Belong-Commit Health Week six weeks later with a focus on positive mental health, which brought mental health to the forefront within the school community. This culminated in the Act-Belong-Commit Athletics Carnival, which gave students a chance to actively participate and increase their sense of belonging.

We created a committee of teachers and administration to identify what we were already doing to improve our students and staff’s mental health and wellbeing and what we wanted to implement. From there, a separate staff wellbeing committee was formed.

We couldn’t have implemented the positive mental health message into our health curriculum and wider school without Act-Belong-Commit.

We have successfully raised the profile and importance of mental health through this program and partnership. A survey of students from Year 7-12 at the end of Term 3 showed that 93% of students understood the importance of mental health and that 90% know how they can improve it. Staff have also commented on how Act-Belong-Commit Health Week brought a sense of community and togetherness.

We have been granted funding from the government to allocate time to coordinate the mental health program in the school, as opposed to doing it within DOTT time or out of school hours – this has been a huge benefit to the coordination of the program within our school.

– Melville Senior High School

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