How schools and educators can support student wellbeing

How schools and educators can support student wellbeing

This week, a major study found that almost a third of students reported they were not coping well over the first half of the year. Of concern, the capacity to cope had declined from 74% in term one to 61% in term two.

The researchers, from leading school wellbeing platform Truwell also found that 24% have concerns about their health, while 17% reporting concern with acceptance and 13% concerned about safety. Acceptable levels of hopefulness and happiness was missing in 30% and 24% of students respectively

Since 2008, not-for-profit mentoring company Raise has delivered early intervention wellbeing programs in six states and 184 secondary schools across Australia.

Raise recruits, trains and screens volunteers to become youth mentors who are then matched with students who would benefit most from having a caring, trusted adult who shows up for them each week of the 6-month program.

To date, the company has trained 6,098 volunteer mentors and supported 8,840 young people. This year, that number will top 10,000.

On 2 August, the Raise Foundation will be holding its free virtual National Student Wellbeing Event, ‘Students and stability – how schools and educators can support student wellbeing’.

Participants will hear from an expert panel, which includes Kristen Douglas, National Manager, Schools at Headspace; Angelica Ojinnaka, the 2022 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations; Vicki Condon, founder and CEO of the Raise Foundation and Kathleen Vella, Program Director at the Raise Foundation.

Vella was the founding EO of the Australian Youth Mentoring Network, Australia’s first peak body for the youth mentoring sector. Responsible for establishing the Australian Youth Mentoring Benchmarks, Kathleen developed the minimum operational standards that all mentoring programs in Australia are encouraged to meet.

Vella said that while this is Raise’s inaugural wellbeing event, it was organised in response to the company’s school partners providing feedback on what they need and value from their Raise partnership.

“Raise is hosting the Student Wellbeing webinar for those taking action including, School leadership teams, wellbeing teams and the broader community support systems,” Vella told The Educator.

“It will bring together leaders in the space who are experienced in this area, with the hope of assisting our school partners to find the right early intervention support strategies for their young people.”

Stephanie McConnell, principal of Lindfield Learning Village, called the Raise Program a “powerful solution” to the school mental health crisis.

“As principals, we're all challenged by the increasing levels of young people experiencing anxiety and mental health issues,” McConnell told The Educator 

“We’re at a loss of how to tackle this within the school setting and that's why I recommend the Raise Program as a solution and a powerful option.”

Therese, a community mentor, said mentoring has the potential to change the life of someone else, as well as your own.

“Why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?”