Gladstone West State School adopts mental health program

Gladstone kids reap rewards of mental health training

KIDS MATTER: Gladstone West State School action team (from left) principal Margie Burrell, teachers Jenny Matthews, Mel Pengelly and Kartina Dalton and students Shivana Saunders, 10, Amity Hollis, 10, and Taylor Connor, 10.
KIDS MATTER: Gladstone West State School action team (from left) principal Margie Burrell, teachers Jenny Matthews, Mel Pengelly and Kartina Dalton and students Shivana Saunders, 10, Amity Hollis, 10, and Taylor Connor, 10. Nicky Moffat

LOOKING after one's mental health and well-being needs to start young.

That's the message from two Gladstone region schools who are championing beyondblue's KidsMatter mental health awareness and training program.

Gladstone West State School and Tannum Sands State School have both adopted the program and sent teachers to training sessions.

Teachers plan to pass on the skills they learned to help the school community better recognise and help individual children who may be experiencing mental health difficulties.

"The statistics for primary-aged children experiencing mental health issues are quite scary," Gladstone West State School principal Margie Burrell said.

"Current statistics indicate one in seven students experience a mental health concern during their primary years."

Ms Burrell said being sad had the same effect on learning as being physically sick.

"We can't work effectively, we can't focus on learning," she said. "How can you play if you feel sad?

"We want to have healthy, achieving and happy kids."

Ms Burrell was excited to be involved with KidsMatter.

Around Australia, 2000 primary schools are involved in the program, 398 of these in Queensland.

beyondblue's KidsMatter Queensland co-ordinator Michael Hardie said schools were finding a need to balance the pressures of schooling, such as that around NAPLAN testing, with support for kids.



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