Mental health and wellbeing was front and centre this week for students at Weeroona College Bendigo.
To coincide with Mental Health Week 2018, students learned about the importance of talking about how they feel and the available services to help improve mental wellbeing.
Weeroona College Bendigo positive education leader Matthew Reeves said the school was always looking for new ways to engage students on the importance of mental health.
“Student agency and voice is a really big push for secondary schools and it’s something we are always looking for new ways to engage the students, which can be tricky,” Mr Reeves said.
Year 8 student George Chamouras said it was important for young people to speak to others and not “bottle up” their emotions.
“It’s important to speak to anyone you feel comfortable with about what’s been happening at school but also outside of school,” George said.
Year 10 student Taine Lang believed with the right knowledge and resources, “it is easy to make a difference”.
“Its great to know what we can do to help other people,” Taine said.
“It’s important to seek help, because once what is bothering you is out, it will help you feel better.”
Social media was a factor which the students believed played a role in affecting young people’s mental health.
Year 10 student Meagan Moore said social media didn’t “portray reality”
“There are lots of people posting photos of only the good things in their lives,” Meagan said.
“This can make some people feel bad about their life.”
Taine also believed social media wasn’t a depiction of reality.
“It forces people not to be themselves and to try be someone they are not, which then affects their mental health,” Taine said.
Mr Reeves said social media was a big influence on the emotional state of children.
“The thing about social media is that it makes it incredibly difficult for an individual to get away from something they’re not happy with or that is bothering them,” he said.
“With social media, things tend to follow you and a lot of children have trouble being able to disengage from it.
“They seem to have a real anxiety if they are not using it, and are even more anxious of what could be happening on social media without them.”
Mr Reeves said on-going work with students around safe-use of social media was a priority at the school.
“A lot of social media related issues don’t happen during school hours, but it plays out at school because it’s the meeting point for the children,” he said.
“Our angle is all about educating them so they make better decisions in relation to social media.”
If you need immediate assistance for a mental health issue, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Children and young people can visit the Bendigo headspace office at 78-80 Pall Mall, or call headspace on 1800 650 890 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
You should also talk to your GP or someone you trust.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.