Video transcript - Supporting student wellbeing at Lithgow High School

Ann Caro - Principal, Lithgow High School

My name is Ann Caro and I'm the principal at Lithgow High School.

The community is a very proud working-class industrial town. But unfortunately, the industry has left and now there are rising levels of unemployment. We have very significant levels of mental health issues, particularly anxiety.

Viktoria Gulabovski - Community Development Officer, Lithgow City Council

Lithgow High, our relationship really strengthened back in 2016 when Council hosted a mental health forum.

Ann Caro and her staff decided to pretty much take responsibility and develop this Wellbeing Centre in the school, and she drew heavily on her community.

She drew heavily on the support of the NGOs (non-governmental organisations), the mental health services, the, you know, OTs (occupational therapists), the massage therapists, the social workers, the you name it, to come into her Wellbeing Centre, which is just a space, an office space, and to deliver their services once a week to a select cohort of students that might need those services.

Ann Caro - Principal, Lithgow High School

I have used the equity funding to employ a teacher to actually run the program.

Dianne Moore - Wellbeing Coordinator

We find a lot of services come to Lithgow and for one reason or another, people find it really hard to access them, and so they make appointments and don't keep them. Whereas here we can remind them about their appointments.

We started off with a bit of a slight idea at the beginning of the year that we might be successful to get four or five services on board, but at the moment we've got up to 14 different services coming in and they're accessing lots and lots of our students for all sorts of different needs. Some of them see the students individually and some work in group programs.

Michelle Phillips - Youth Worker Specialist, Lithgow Community Projects

The role I play here with the school through the wellbeing hub is the disadvantaged young people that are experiencing issues at home, at risk of being homeless. The school is aware of what I do, how I can support them, the way that I work as well, which is important, and then the kids are then... they're identified.

A lot of the kids that I meet with here, they have issues with parents for many, many reasons. But it's hard for them to engage with a service outside school. So me coming here makes it more accessible for kids to receive a service.

Dianne Moore - Wellbeing Coordinator

When I started, I didn't really know how a lot of the health professional services worked and the family support, and I found that that's actually been an advantage because I've asked things of services that they've never thought of doing before. And I'll say, you know, "Is it possible to do this?" And they'll say, "Oh, no, we don't do that. We haven't ever done that." And I've said, "Well, why? If we work together, can we do it?"

So that's really been a great advantage to me. And I would encourage any schools who are thinking about doing it that it's really worthwhile because the outcomes for the students and the staff and the families are well worth it.

End transcript.

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