Authors: Becca Allchin, Leigh Candy, Andrew Joyce, Julie Malmborg.
Event: 2001 TheMHS Conference
Subject: children, education, families, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This presentation will provide participants with a clear description of the value of mental health/illness education to teachers and students in primary schools. It will describe the development, process and results of this innovative pilot project, which had two key objectives: the first addressed the role of schools and teachers in supporting children and families affected by the mental illness of a parent; and the second objective was to reduce stigma through classroom education about mental illness. The experiences of a person with a mental illness and a young woman who as a child lived with a mother with a mental illness were critical parts of the project. The significant outcome of the teacher workshops was an increased confidence to talk with and support a child whose parent had a mental illness. Student evaluations indicated changes in attitude and increased knowledge. This was demonstrated by a significant decline in derogatory descriptors exemplified in the comment: “I think I will never refer to a person with a mental illness as psycho, crazy or anything else.” This presentation will show the groundbreaking and successful nature of this project in primary schools in facilitating family support and helping prevent stigma.