Mindfulness and positive mental health were on the agenda when Michael Carr-Gregg visited the school in August.
The child adolescent psychologist spoke to staff and parents to offer them strategies to improve their own mental health and that of our young people.
With a respected career in the promotion of mental health for families, children and adolescents, Dr Carr-Gregg held two separate sessions at the school.
“One is to the staff, looking after their mental health and giving them some strategies to look after themselves … because if the teachers are okay then that’s a great start to the students,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.
“I’ll then talk to the parents about how to build happy and resilient young people which is pretty important in rural and remote Victoria because the mental health of young people is not flash at the moment.”
Mr Carr-Gregg said statistics showed suicide rates had generally doubled in the last 10 years, with suicide rates three times higher in the country then in the city.
With this in mind he said he hoped to give parents the strategies to build resilience and positivity in their children.
“For the parents I want to give them the skills, the knowledge and the strategies to build resilience in their young people and to understand the principals of well being which are drawn from positive psychology,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.
During his sessions, Mr Carr-Gregg also addressed the occupational stress teachers faced in their roles.
He said by acknowledging this and giving staff a range of apps and websites they can use, he hoped they could improve their mental health through exercise, diet, relationships and mindfulness.
“I really think they need to look after themselves in terms of their mental health,” Dr Michael Carr Gregg said.
“They basically have to deal with a generation of young people who have probably the worst mental health for a long time in the history of Australians, so I think it’s a tough job.”
Principal Mark Torriero said the school runs seminars each year that address different areas of staff wellbeing.
With this year’s forum focusing on mental health, Mr Torriero said the expertise of Dr Carr-Gregg would be a valuable support for both staff and parents.
“Michael’s a very engaging speaker and obviously he has the academic and professional background so it seemed logical to offer a session to parents.”