Mental health focus for Wellbeing Week 2021

Students are being encouraged to think about self-care as they emerge from learning from home and prepare to return to schools.

‘It’s time for you and others’ is this year’s message to students during Wellbeing Week from 11 to 15 October.

In recognition of national Mental Health Week, Wellbeing Week 2021 features a line-up of free events, information and activities for students of all ages from some of Australia's best mental health and wellbeing providers.

NSW Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said Wellbeing Week 2021 was an important opportunity to focus on mental health and wellbeing during the learning from home period, and to support the return of face-to-face learning at school.

“COVID-19 has again required us to rethink how we support our students, staff and schools. We know this has been an extremely difficult time, especially for our staff, students and their families in Local Government Areas of concern,” Ms Harrisson said.

“Collaboration, communication, innovation and technology have been vital in keeping students connected and engaged with their teachers. Many of the usual supports and structures have had to be delivered differently due to physical distancing and learning from home.

“As students return to face-to-face school learning this term, Wellbeing Week 2021 promotes the importance of self-care and provides inspiration, practical advice and resources to promote wellbeing for students, parents and carers and our staff.

“It’s a great opportunity to show how we can all take practical steps to look after ourselves and each other.”

NSW Education has partnered with key national mental health and wellbeing providers, including Kids Helpline, headspace Schools, e-Safety Commissioner, Black Dog Institute, Smiling Mind and Life Education to present a week of free online events and activities on the Distance and Rural Technology (DART) platform, to provide practical advice about mental health and wellbeing.

Staff from NSW Education’s School Sport Unit will present online lessons on physical wellbeing and fitness, and Student Support Officers will guide discussions and advice on managing changes as students prepare to return to school. These free events will be available to schools across Australia through the DART platform.

“We know from our own website data students, staff and families are seeking advice and information on positive student mental wellbeing,” Ms Harrisson said.

“Our school counselling service staff are also telling us that students are sometimes struggling with motivation to complete schoolwork while learning from home and feel the isolation from their friends.

“We want our children and young people to know how, where and when they can get mental health and wellbeing help anytime for themselves or their peers, online, at school or in their community.”

In 2018 NSW Education became the Guinness World Record holder for the World’s Largest Mental Health Awareness Lesson, which was presented live to more than 1,500 Year 9-10 students (Stage 5) students and close to 9,000 more as a live stream across NSW as part of Mental Health Week.

Visit Wellbeing Week 11-15 October 2021 for details.

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