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We did it! New record raises awareness of mental fitness

The NSW Department of Education has set a new Guinness World Record for the largest mental health awareness lesson.

mental health awareness lesson

Student power...1500 students break the record, another 9,000 joined the livestream.

Video - The World's Largest Mental Health Awareness Lesson

Duration - 1:32

Watch the highlights here.

The record attempt was to raise the discussion on mental health and introduce students to mental fitness and resilience through an interactive lesson for students.

The lesson delivered supports the PDHPE mental health curriculum, and was developed as part of a unit of work focusing on mental health and promoting mental health literacy, to:

  • enhance awareness that mental wellbeing is a lifelong journey with ups and downs for everyone
  • enhance awareness of how to maintain one’s own mental wellbeing
  • improve ability to start a conversation about mental wellbeing
  • increase confidence about seeking help if required
  • increase confidence in helping a friend in need.

The recording of the lesson and supporting content will be available to all schools in December 2018.

Highlights from the Guinness World Records attempt

Around 1500 Year 9 and 10 public high school students converged on Sydney Olympic Park for the challenge, beating the current record set in the UK by a whopping 651 students.

Delivered by headspace national manager Kristen Douglas, and Sydney Secondary College PDHPE teacher Kim Harper, the lesson introduced students to the importance of developing mental fitness and resilience to cope with the stresses and challenges of everyday life.

From practical mindfulness meditation exercises to knowing how to start a conversation about mental health with friends, the reception from the students was rapturous.

Year 9 Strathfield Girls High School student Livia Wang, said the lesson was “amazing”.

“I learned about mental resilience … I am really happy to have shared this with all my friends,” she said.

The event’s host, TV presenter and health coach, Olivia Phyland, congratulated the NSW Education Department and all those involved in today’s world record, and encouraged everyone to make good mental health a priority.

“It’s not a weakness to speak up, it’s a strength,” Ms Phyland said.

Her call was echoed by video celebrity shout-outs including international superstar Ronan Keating who thanked the department for “bringing this issue to a world stage”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes also recorded video messages underscoring the importance of good mental health and the need to get better, as a community and a country, at discussing the issue.

Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott, who pressed the buzzer to start the 40-minute lesson, said the world record attempt had been a great excuse to put mental health, and conversations about developing resilience, centre stage.

In bringing together “the biggest classroom I’ve ever seen”, Mr Scott said the department was underscoring the importance of studying mental health and “learning how to live long, resilient and successful lives.”

Revealing he also started each day with a few minutes of meditation to “quiet his mind and build optimism, hope and control over the day” Mr Scott offered his three top tips for good mental health:

  1. Getting enough sleep
  2. Putting the phone away, going outside and “getting off the grid”
  3. Meditation.

The department’s successful attempt to break the Guinness World record for the world’s largest mental health lesson was livestreamed to more than 9,000 students across NSW.

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