Mental health in schools
Increased mental health awareness, support and education in schools has been a consistent issue raised by Victorian students at Congress. VicSRC provided a submission to the 2019 Royal Commission into Mental Health based on what students had said over the years.
The Royal Commission into Mental Health report tabled in 2021 captured some of the key themes students had raised including the importance of schools providing effective support for students by having more mental health practitioners, different levels of support to target different needs and training for students to provide peer support.
Check out some wins for student mental health in the last couple of years below.
✔️ Mental health practitioners in all government and low-fee non-government schools
✔️Teen Mental Health First Aid
✔️Youth Mental Health First Aid
✔️Youth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid
VICSRC STUDENT-FOCUSED MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY GROUP
Have your say on how you find information about mental health services in schools!
The Victorian Student-Focused Mental Health Communications Advisory Group has been established by the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC), thanks to the support of the Victorian Department of Education. The advisory group is designed to give students an opportunity to provide feedback on existing communications materials related to in-school mental health support for students.
The advisory group will have a special focus on improving communication between the Department of Education and students about key mental health programs, including but not limited to:
In collaboration with the Department of Education, the advisory group will provide detailed feedback and advice to improve existing communications materials and future campaigns to ensure the department are reaching students. This could include looking at the use of student-friendly language, deciding who we are talking to and why, and what we want to say.
The advisory group will be made up of eight (8) secondary school students from across Victoria who share a diverse range of experiences at school.
Take a look at the Advisory Group Member Role Description for further details and when you’re ready to apply, you can click the button to head to our application form!
We believe that schools should provide an environment and system that addresses both causes and impacts of anxiety and other mental health problems that affect students.”
After hearing the concerns and experiences of students across the state during and after the extended 2020 lockdowns and remote learning periods, VicSRC Student Executive Advisory Committee declared a mental health crisis in mid 2021.
VicSRC advocated for stronger student voice in education decision-making through 2021 as further lockdowns and school closures began to disrupt school and home life for students across the state. We took our concerns and suggested solutions to the Minister for Education which included:
prioritising mental health and wellbeing at school
no questions asked mental health days
limits on how many school based assessments for VCE studies could be set per week
no homework set during school holidays so students have a break
What’s happening now?
At the end of 2021, the Minister for Education announced an updated Victorian Framework for Improving Student Outcomes that elevated mental health and wellbeing as equally important to students as learning, as well as strengthening the understanding of partnership between educators and students in all school decision making.
VicSRC continues to work to keep up to date with how students are feeling about mental health support at schools and communicate this to decision-makers to improve how schools prioritise mental health and wellbeing.
What does this mean for students?
Get informed about what your school could have available for mental health support for students with the Schools Mental Health Menu.