Schools should include psychologists to help students develop their mental health

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I ask that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and The Minister for Education and Training consider that psychologists should be inclusive of staff at schools and teach Mental Health as part of the curriculum.

Not covered lightly like it already is in Health studies. I mean to teach coming generations how to manage emotions, to develop less self destructive coping mechanisms, trust to confide not only in others but in adult figures.

We can not be sure that bullying will ever be eradicated but to encourage confidence and strong minds the effects of bullying may not be as devastating.

Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released suicide statistics from 2014 that show every 3 hours an Australian takes their own life. These statistics have reached a 10 year high and suicide is already the leading cause of death of those aged 15 to 44.

Below is a letter I have written and sent to MP Daniel Andrews to see that the letter is sent in the direction of those who can take action to my words of concern and address them appropriately for the devastated families of those who have already been affected by such tragedy and to those who would do anything to protect their loved ones against it.  

I am not a great writer. I am not writing to project wit and intellect. I am writing as a suffer of mental illness myself. To have lost people I loved from mental illness and to inspire others to join me in what seems to be the most appropriate course of action to save ourselves and the ones we love.

****To whom it may concern,**************************************

I am writing to you now to propose an idea. A simple one, really I promise.

I ask that you consider the idea of introducing Mental Health to our curriculum. Yes, I know Mental Health does get covered in the curriculum. We study eating disorders, depression, anxiety but what about studying ourselves?

It is truly a national crisis that has just been recognised thanks to last week’s release of 2014 statistics from the ABS, that every 3 hours in Australia someone takes their own life. The highest it’s been in 10 years, with suicide being the leading cause of death for those aged 15-44.

I do not offer a solution to these horrifying numbers, but I do offer hope, precaution and understanding.

Would it not make sense to teach our coming generations in school on how they can control their emotions, the way they deal with pain, sadness and suffering? We can never say if bullying will ever be eradicated but we know we can develop strong minds to combat this. What fails people the most is adequate support systems. Schools sometimes provide counselors and chaplains with little qualification and experience, some schools assume that youth have functional families at home in which they confide to if they are experiencing hardship. It’s not always the case.

Having one or a few psychologists within a school, again psychologists, not counsellors and chaplains,to teach students things like Interpersonal Therapy- a therapy that is a time-limited treatment that encourages the patient to regain control of mood. Emotionally Focused Therapy – a therapy that suggests human emotions have an innately adaptive potential that, if activated, can help clients change problematic emotional states or unwanted self-experiences and many more.

Why do we not prepare today’s youth who may experience not only mental illnesses but just general life hardship too. To educate teachers and parents to look out for red flags that may suggest a student is suffering from a mental illness.

Not only does this benefit youth, their parents, teachers and the overall community in terms of mental health, it offers more jobs. It’ll bring down those chilling statistics too. The adverse effects of positive mental health recognition and support can be seen in youth getting jobs, educating each other and promoting positive morale, crime may be affected in regards to troubled youth etc.

It’s simply spreading a positive message.

I experience first-hand the effects of Mental Illness and it’s important that people know they are not alone. They are experiencing something normal and they can get better.



Let’s help them help themselves.



Renee Orlando