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Mentally Healthy Schools bring Act Belong Commit to life

Schools play a vital role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students, staff and the wider school community. The Mentally Healthy Schools program provides a framework to embed Act Belong Commit within the classroom, whole school environment and broader school community to encourage people to take action to improve and protect their mental health and wellbeing. It promotes good mental health strategies at the individual and community level, and encourages the creation of supportive environments for positive mental health. There are many opportunities in the school environment for students, staff and the great school community to be active, develop a sense of belonging and add meaning and purpose to their lives. These all contribute to good mental health.

With thanks to funding from the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation, Mentally Healthy Schools program aims to encourage young Western Australians to adopt mentally healthy behaviours early in life; build their resilience so they cope better with problems; reduce stigma around mental illness; promote discussions about mental health; build capacity of students and staff to create mentally healthy school cultures; and foster partnerships between schools and their communities to create a ‘Mentally Healthy WA’.

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

Wellbeing Coordinator, Karratha Senior High School

A vital role for schools

Schools are important settings for supporting mental health and wellbeing among young people. A child or young person’s ability to be mentally healthy can be greatly enhanced by a community that fosters belonging and connectedness. The first signs of mental health issues often appear early in childhood and over half of all mental health conditions emerge by the age of 14.* Early life is a critical period for developing skills and behaviours to set young people on a path to good mental health.

The Mentally Healthy Schools program aligns with the World Health Organization’s Health Promoting Schools Framework. Primary and secondary schools can adopt the Act Belong Commit message into the classroom, school environment and whole school community using curriculum, teaching and learning, school organisation, ethos and environment, and through partnerships and services.

Why become a Mentally Healthy School?

Mentally Healthy Schools can tailor the Act Belong Commit messaging in a way that suits your school community. It offers a flexible program that is easy to adopt in any school setting. Mentally Healthy WA works with partnered schools to upskill staff and empower them to deliver meaningful and engaging projects, events and activities that build positive mental health. Why become a Mentally Healthy School?

• Free and simple to join.
• Play your part in championing good mental health in our community.
• Improve the mental health and wellbeing of your staff, students, and wider school community.
• Increase your students’ confidence, self-esteem, and resilience.
• Foster a sense of community in your school and boost engagement in shared activities.
• Students who are mentally healthy are more likely to achieve their potential.

“We love the support of Act Belong Commit, access to resources and the beliefs that it upholds.”

Principal, Eneabba Primary School

Partnering with Mentally Healthy Schools

A partnership with Mentally Healthy Schools gives you access to a comprehensive campaign and program to promote a positive, action-oriented message relevant to students, staff, parents and carers.

Your school would be aligned to WA’s longest-running evidence-based mental health promotion campaign, recognised globally.

In addition, Mentally Healthy Schools provides your school with access to:

• Training in mental health promotion strategies and the Act Belong Commit message.
• Educational resources and materials to promote and help teach mentally healthy behaviours.

Evidence supports the success of Mentally Healthy Schools

For a deeper look into how some Mentally Healthy Schools have brought Act Belong Commit to life in many West Australian schools check out these case studies.

Recent Curtin University research (2020) has also given support to the Mentally Healthy Schools program and in particular its impact on the mental health of teachers.

The research examined the effectiveness of the Mentally Healthy Schools Framework and findings revealed the Framework had substantial impact on staff in terms of increased mental health literacy and 43 per cent of staff taking action to improve their mental health.

How can my school get involved?

Any primary or secondary school in Western Australia can join the Act Belong Commit Mentally Healthy Schools program. Check out the list of Western Australian schools already involved.

Contact us today to find out how your school can get involved.