After engaging in a number of research opportunities and surveying not only students but also parents and staff, it is clear that mental health is something about which all involved have concerns about.
As a result, after researching a variety of available programs and sampling activities with students, the school has decided to introduce the BITE BACK program which has been developed by the Black Dog Institute.
Students in Year 11 will engage with the program during Term 3 and 4 by taking part in the six-module Mental Health Fitness challenge. The modules include Gratitude, Mindfulness, Social Connections, Strengths, Meaning and Purpose, which provide a clear connection to the school’s CLARE program.
In the introductory session, students were asked to log on and create a profile page which involved them answering a variety of questions about their current mental health position. Students then work through each of the modules at their own pace.
At the conclusion of each module, students are rewarded with a certificate of completion and have the opportunity to win $250.
To date, the program has been an overwhelming success in that it has enabled students to more openly discuss current mental health issues and problems with both staff and parents. There has also been less concern about the stigma attached to such conversations which has sometimes been something of a challenge in the past.
This program has proven to be an invaluable opportunity and experience for students to develop an understanding and awareness of mental health.
Students now also have full access to the BITE BACK resources which include quizzes, readings, help lines and more. It has given students access to the very latest of research and provided them with the tools needed to move forward as well-equipped young citizens ready to engage successfully in today’s fast paced world.
The next step will be to roll out a supplementary program next year as these students are working their way through the HSC.
To read more about BITE BACK, click here.