To: Minister of Health & Minister of Education

Better Mental Health Education in All NZ Schools

We call for better guidelines and adequate training and funding for 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, and 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, and we have the highest youth suicide rate in the world, 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 started this petition because 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

Sources:

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

  • Because it's a good cause
  • its so much more important then people tend to think
  • I have seen mental health 1st hand & think its need to talked and recognised as a major issue in NZ

Updates

2017-06-22 13:47:27 +1200

The petition was delivered to parliament on June 8 and is currently under review by the Health Select committee. Whilst signatures from now on will not go to parliament - feel free to still sign to show the continued growing support for the cause.

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