A 2018 report found that the number of young people reporting concerns around mental health has risen by 10% in one year.
Four in ten (43%) young people identified mental health as the top issue facing Australia today – up from 33% in 2017 and doubling since 2016. Mental health also entered the top three issues of personal concern in the annual survey which was completed by more than 28,000 young Australians.
In Victoria, one in seven young people between the ages of four and 17 are estimated to have a mental health issue, with prevalence higher in secondary school.
One Victorian school that has heard this message loud and clear is Rosebud Secondary College’s, which has created a dedicated space where students can gain skills to manage and build their mental health and wellbeing.
The College’s ‘Wellness Pavilion’, which received a $300,000 funding boost by the Victorian Government last week, will include a meditation space for students in class groups and individually, and private workspaces for wellbeing staff and in-reach services to provide counselling support to students.
The centre will also be available out of school hours, subject to hire agreements and joint use agreements with the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
The College is also in the process of recruiting a mental health professional as part of the Victorian Government’s $51.2m Mental Health Practitioners in Schools initiative.
The initiative is providing every Victorian government secondary school campus with funding for a mental health practitioner by 2022, so students can receive additional support when they need it most.
In announcing the funding boost for the Wellness Pavilion, Minister Merlino said happy, healthy and resilient young people are more likely to succeed in their education and in life.
“That’s why we’re investing $300,000 towards this new centre to help students in Rosebud improve their mental health and wellbeing,” Merlino said.
“It’s also why we are expanding mental health support in Victorian secondary school campuses, to make sure that our children get the support they need through programs and initiatives.”
Member for Nepean Chris Brayne said the upgrade is about “more than giving Rosebud Secondary College students the school facilities they deserve”.
“It is about helping students better manage and build on their mental health, while potentially saving lives,” Brayne said.