Deputies Geoffrey Fleming and Evelyn Wilson – Babic with student school leaders for 2018-2019 and comfort dog Bella, all form part of the holistic approach toward wellbeing at Morisset High.It’s often said that the youth of today have never had it easier. And while in some contexts that might be so, there’s whole new world of pressure bearing down on our teens today, resulting in horrific outcomes for some.

Youth suicide in is at an all time high. According to the latest figures from the ABSCauses of Death Data, there were 3027 suicides in during 2015, that’s the equivalent of a staggering 8 suicides a day.

Cheri McDonald, is principal of Morisset High School and says she and her colleagues have recognised the increasing demands for assistance with the mental health and wellbeingfor adolescents over the last 5 years in particular. Since she joined Morisset High, 3 years ago, the wellbeing team have implemented rigorous and proactive strategies to raise awareness and support for studentmental health through selectively targeting a number of government initiatives and programs with external agencies. Links with the Primary schools have been deepened.

“The Morisset community have, unfortunately in the past suffered the impact of youth suicide. It’s difficult to convey how hard that it is to experience and the emotional impact it has on everyone. But all of our schools from K-12 are working hard to change as much as we can possibly influence,”

The last 4 years have been incident free thanks to the ongoing efforts of students, staff, program providers, community groups and the broader business community. Morisset Rotary’s support for adolescent mental health has been ongoing; the club recently raised $32,000 in support of the school’s activities, a result that has encouraged Mrs McDonald and her team.

“It’s been so heartening to see the support for rotary and this cause in the community. Local businesses donated, sent staffto participate and showed how much this issue means, for that we are very grateful.”

“Our students are entering a very different world, for some, withfar less job security than ever. Coupled with the impact of social media, there’s a great need for ongoing education through positive behaviour for learning and building resilience and coping mechanisms. The efforts of Morisset Rotary will greatly assist that.”

While the impact of the schools’work so far is having measurable results, there’s only so much that can be done in 6 hours a day. Working with community and parents to ensure the development of students’ well being continues after the 3.00pm bell, is something Mrs McDonald hopes will continue to build.

“We have so much support, from our school leaders, staff and community – everyone is playing their part. Continuing to build this holistic approach is where we can really can have a lasting impact.”