To: Minister of Health & Minister of Education

Let's Get Mental Health Education in All NZ Schools

We call for compulsory preventative mental health education in the New Zealand high school curriculum covering these key areas:

-Causes and symptoms of common mental health issues
-How to support those experiencing mental distress
-Available pathways for help
-Positive wellbeing actions

Students need to be exposed to this every year all the way up to year 13.

Why is this important?

We want to see a happy, healthy and productive New Zealand.

One of the biggest barriers to this is our widespread problems with mental health. In fact, one in five New Zealanders will be diagnosed with a mental health problem this year, but there is a huge lack of knowledge about prevention, and recovery in the general population.

Current school programmes focus on counselling and only allude to wellbeing in the context of physical health, but this is educating too little and intervening too late.

Furthermore, Health is only compulsory in the curriculum up to Year 10, meaning that they may face the stressful times of NCEA and transition out of school without enough support to their Mental Health. Better trained teachers and/or external providers need to deliver clear and consistent messages about mental health.

"I faced a lot of distress at the end of high school, and I blamed my friends, my parents and especially myself before I realised that there might be an underlying cause to my extended distress, and even then I was hesitant to ask for help because I feared judgement. So many of my friends have stories like this, and I strongly believe that good education for all young people will encourage them to seek help sooner and improve outcomes long term."

All young Kiwis need to know how to best keep themselves well and support each other, and we believe a comprehensive mental health curriculum in schools will help to achieve this.

Media:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/90756147/mental-health-campaigner-lucy-mcsweeney-wants-to-shake-up-mental-health-education-in-schools

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-1/

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/nutters-club/why-we-need-mental-health-education-in-schools-part-2/

More information:

If you need help - don't be afraid to reach out, it's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength - here's some people who will be there for you:

Lifeline
0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999

Suicide Prevention Helpline
0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0)

Youthline
0800 376 633

NZ youth suicide twice Australia’s https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/nz-youth-suicide-twice-australias

Suicide accounts for a third of all deaths in those aged 15-24 http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/turned-away-in-a-crisis


Reasons for signing

  • The brain is the most important organ in our body yet we aren't taught how to properly manage and maintain it's well being! I would argue that every single person has come into contact with a mental issue, especially students who go through high standards and stress 24/7!
  • I am a School Guidance Counsellor who has worked with suicidal youth for decades.I am very concerned about the lack of resources in terms of professional mental health practitioners in Whirinaki Mental Health Services. It would now seem that the young person has to have made an attempt before they receive help. And then the help they do receive is barely adequate. I believe the issue is resourcing. There is a need for more qualified practitioners.
  • I am a volunteer counsellor for Youthline and get to feel firsthand how youth are hurting. Education is key to creating better understanding and awareness.

Updates

2017-04-11 10:44:34 +1200

5,000 signatures reached

2017-03-06 22:37:35 +1300

1,000 signatures reached

2017-03-06 15:21:48 +1300

500 signatures reached

2017-03-03 10:35:53 +1300

100 signatures reached

2017-03-03 06:59:53 +1300

50 signatures reached

2017-03-02 22:35:23 +1300

25 signatures reached

2017-03-02 21:57:54 +1300

10 signatures reached