From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

R U OK?

This week’s Chapel address as part of RU OK? Day

Six month wait times, distressed young people turned away:

Demand outstrips supply at headspace1

This was the headline on the ABC triple j Hack yesterday and is representative of the media commentary on the growing concerns about young people’s mental health over the last 18 months or so. Whilst I am of the view that some of this coverage is, unsurprisingly, hysterical and unhelpful, because we don’t do young people a disservice by pathologising the ‘worried (… bored, sad, disappointed or frustrated) well’, it is important to acknowledge that poor mental health can be a real illness, that it can be treated, and that it ought not be ignored.

At Trinity, we take the welfare and wellbeing of your sons very seriously. One way this is reflected in the School’s procedures is through the Welfare Teams. If a member of the staff or parent has a concern about a boy’s wellbeing or mental health, a referral is generated and triaged at the weekly Welfare Team meetings at the Senior School, Middle School, Preparatory School and Junior School. Each referral is handled individually, and a team approach is taken for each case. A referral may involve the TESS Counselling and Psychological Support Service, it may involve the TESS Academic Support Service, or it may require a referral and liaison with external professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, paediatricians or community mental health teams. It is not unusual for a boy to remain on the Welfare Team caseload for multiple weeks or until such time as the team is confident that his needs are being appropriately case managed. These teams continue to meet during Remote Learning.

Because of our commitment to the welfare of your sons, Trinity Grammar School has built a Counselling and Psychological Support Service that is more comprehensive than any other school of my experience. Mr Tim Smith, Ms Sandi Bell, Ms Sue Boursiani, Ms Cara Chillari, and Mr Micah Boerma make up theTESS Counselling and Psychological Support Service Team. Your son may never require their services but, if he does, he will be in good hands.

We mark R U OK? Day at this time each year to continue to destigmatise mental illness and poor mental health. It remains statistically significant that boys and young men tend not to seek help when they are experiencing a mental health episode or for a mental health condition. At Trinity, we are unambiguously of the view that a mental illness is regarded no differently to a physical illness, insofar as there is no stigma, and we are unambiguously clear that mental health episodes and mental illnesses respond to treatment and do not have to be a life sentence.

Student Leaders’ Address

Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill


[1] https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/headspace-six-month-waiting-times/13532744


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