The Importance Of The Lived Experience In Educating Primary School Communities About Mental Health And Illness.

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Authors: Becca Allchin, George Guorgi & Sandy Jeffs, VIC

Year: 2004

Event: 2004 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Young Children of Parents with Mental Illness, Supporting Kids in Primary Schools, or SKIPS

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 0975765302

Abstract: This presentation will provide participants with a clear understanding of the critical, and sometimes unanticipated, role the lived experience has in mental health/illness promotion to teachers and students in primary schools. The presentation will describe an innovative project Supporting Kids in Primary Schools, or SKIPS, which has two key objectives:
• to discuss the role of primary schools and teachers in supporting children and families affected by the mental illness of a parent;
• to reduce prejudice about mental illness through classroom education about mental health and illness with grades 5 and 6 students.

Critical parts of the project involve people relating their lived experience with mental illness. In the classroom a person with a mental illness relates their life experiences to the students. In the staffroom, an adult who as a child lived with a parent with a mental illness presents to the teachers. These sessions have a profound impact and are the catalyst for attitude change both in the staff room and the classroom, leading to breaking the silence about mental illness. This presentation will show that the successful nature of SKIPS has at its core sharing the lived experience.

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