Three years ago, Waverley College began the process of becoming a recognised school in Mental Health First Aid. This was seen as a crucial initiative to support adolescent development during an important time of change and personal growth. Statistically, around three quarters of common mental health problems emerge before the age of 25 years old, and around one in five young people experience a mental health problem. Suicide is still the leading cause of death for people aged 5-17 years. Given these statistics, we have been eager to ensure our staff have the skill set to identify potential concerns and intervene early.
Based on the latest international research and statistics, the 14-hour Mental Health First Aid course teaches adults who work with young people about adolescent development and mental health. The course addresses anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and psychosis. All participants learn how to identify the early warning signs of developing mental health concerns, and how to have a conversation about these topics in a practical way.
Every Waverley College staff member is trained annually in Medical First Aid with our College Nurse, giving them the ability to assist students with any physical need. We acknowledge that having the skill set to assist with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, is equally as important. From 2017, 100 Waverley College staff have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, and by the end of 2021, every Waverley College staff member will have completed the training.
Our dedication and commitment to Mental Health First Aid has recently been recognised by being awarded a Gold Standard Skilled Workplace — of this, we are incredibly proud. Waverley College is the second school in New South Wales to be presented a Gold Standard, and one of six schools Australia-wide. This award celebrates our staff who are all skilled practitioners, and further demonstrates our strong commitment to embedding Mental Health First Aid into our culture at Waverley College.
If you, as a parent are interested in attending a course like this, please email me, as based on the interest, we may offer night courses throughout the term.
Ms Tessa Prior