HUGE BOOST TO STUDENT WELFARE & MENTAL HEALTH IN LOCAL SCHOOLS

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

AN $88 million investment by the State Government will result in all public high schools in the Northern Tablelands having two highly-qualified mental health professionals to provide vital wellbeing support to students, local State MP Adam Marshall announced today.

Mr Marshall said the initiative was a huge win for local secondary students, who would have access to professionals based in their school who they could confidentially speak to about bullying, anxiety, stress or any other difficult issue they may be facing.

“We have to normalise speaking up and seeking help when it comes to mental health and make sure our students know there is always someone they can turn to for support,” Mr Marshall said.

Up to 100 additional full-time school counsellors or psychologists, as well as 350 student support officers, will be employed across NSW public high schools. Importantly, these experts will have the ability to refer students who require greater assistance to mental health services.

Mr Marshall said this would make it easier for young people to access help when they’re going through a tough time and also give teachers the support they needed to deal with challenges faced by students.

“I hear from our local teachers and principals – and the students themselves – all the time about what an impact this support can make on reducing stress and improving academic performance, as well as how much the students embrace the extra support,” he said.

Mr Marshall said the investment would provide vital support for communities in country NSW.

“By offering mental health support in schools, we can identify kids who need help early, and make sure they’re looked after,” Mr Marshall said.

“With the ice epidemic and youth suicide being major issues in rural and regional NSW, it is important our kids have access to life-saving support services no matter where they live.”

The State Government will also partner with mental health organisations to bring their expertise and experience to school communities.

“It is critical that parents, teachers and students know there is always someone they can turn to for support,” Mr Marshall said.

Since being elected, the NSW Government has increased funding for student wellbeing by more than $200 million, with an additional 236 school counselling positions funded over the past three years, bringing the total full-time counselling positions to 1,081 across NSW.

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