North Rocks Public School
An exciting global partnership helps ease COVID-19 anxiety.
Students from one Sydney school are exploring their role as global citizens thanks to a unique collaboration with the World Health Organization.
As they watched their students become increasingly anxious about the spread of COVID-19, teachers at North Rocks Public School decided to reach out to the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance.
In a video conference held earlier this year with a technical officer in WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, Dr Katrin Seeher, the students were able to ask questions about the virus and express their concerns about its spread.
Their teachers had encouraged the students to share their concerns so the WHO could help other children around the world who were feeling the same way.
Dr Seeher and her colleagues had been gathering information from students around the world about how they felt about the virus, which was then addressed through the children’s book, My Hero is You, developed by WHO and other UN agencies as part of, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.
The book which has been translated into 120 languages can be found on the UNICEF website and has been shared worldwide.
Over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world have shared their stories about how they are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Seeher reassured the North Rocks students that feeling anxious and stressed was a normal emotion and not one only felt by students. She also clarified some of the misconceptions held by the students about the virus and discussed ways in which everyone could keep themselves and their families safe.
In the wake of that discussion, North Rocks asked its students to create comic books that explained to students elsewhere how to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic. Some of these comics were shared with Dr Seeher and her colleagues.