Authors: Danielle Pretty, Felicity Meehan, Nicole Smith
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Change, Innovation, Reform,Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention,Reducing Stigma and Discrimination
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Up to one in five children/adolescents live with a parent with a mental illness. Children who have a parent with a mental illness are at risk of social, emotional and psychological difficulties. This paper reports on an initiative of Children of Parents with a Mental Illness and School-Link Sydney LHD, designed to engage high school students in conversations about mental illness and address some of these challenges. Small teams of Year 9/10 students from 11 schools in the Canterbury/Inner West Local Government areas took part in a public speaking challenge, in which they were allocated a topic to research and present on mental health, mental ill health and help seeking. Students reported through feedback surveys that they felt more confident after the challenge in their knowledge of mental health and well-being. The teachers also provided positive feedback about the activity, finding it a useful challenge and a great way to integrate mental health topics into the curriculum. Participating schools expressed interest in continuing involvement. Recommendations include implementing this at a local school level in addition to continuing the district-wide challenge. More comprehensive data needs to be gathered on the effectiveness of this strategy in addressing the challenges of mental illness.
Learning Objective 1: Provide insight into a new initiative for engaging high school students in conversations about mental illness.
Learning Objective 2: Propose an innovative strategy for reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues for school communities, adolescents and their families.
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