Lumen Christi staff are taking a stand on mental health and they are wanting the community to join them in tackling the issue.
On Monday, October 24, students will have the day off as the teachers and staff spend the day discussing what the school can do better to not only manage but to also prevent Mental Health issues.
Principal Steve Centra said this is something that cannot be put off any longer.
“What our staff have to deal with often and increasingly are mental health issues with young people, things like anxiety, depression, self harm or just general stress,” Mr Centra said.
“Staff need to understand mental health better, as teachers we’re not experts in that area. We’ve been taught to teach certain subjects but what happens when a student is self harming? Or diagnosed with depression? Or when a kid doesn’t want to do any work because they are feeling too low? These are everyday issues and we all need strategies to deal with these scenarios.”
Mr Centra said the school is trying to reduce the stigma and demystify mental health issues, and a huge part of that is getting the community involved.
On Monday evening, at 5pm, the school is holding a Mental Health Summit. Parents, students and members from the entire Sapphire Coast community are invited to attend to “work together for the mental health and well-being of our local kids”.
“There is a degree of apathy or ignorance in relation to these issues but if we ignore it, it’s not going to go away,” he said.
“If you break a leg, you get it treated straight away, people are aware and make allowances for you, but it’s harder to see and diagnose a mental health issue. We need to demystify mental health and see it as an illness and something that is treatable.”
There will be a large variety of experts, including GPs, counsellors, a mental health nurse, youth workers, a police officer and a former student who struggled with depression during her HSC. The panel will discuss how to deal with hypothetical situations and will also be available to answer questions.
The Mental Health Summit was created in response to growing concerns about mental health within the entire community, in particular the mental health our youth.
The school hopes the Summit will lead to greater understanding and awareness of mental health issues and assist in generating positive outcomes for young people.