10,000 signatures reached
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.
Lucy delivered this petition in 2017 and made an oral submission to the Health Select Committee: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/first-up/audio/2018706698/10-000-sign-petition-to-push-mental-health-ed-for-students
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.
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:
0800 543 354 or (09) 522 2999
Suicide Prevention Helpline
0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0)
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