Youth mental health under the spotlight

Improving mental health in Colac must start at a school level, a Colac school wellbeing officer says.

Improving mental health in Colac must start at a school level, a Colac school wellbeing officer says.

Colac Secondary College wellbeing officer Mick McCrickard said conversations about mental health needed to start with young people in order to address the “rampant” issue.

“Anxiety is just rampant with our kids now, depression, but more so anxiety, caused from all sorts of situations. From childhood trauma that creates lasting mental health issues for kids,” he said.

Mick said social media also played a major role in children’s poor mental health, with kids “addicted to devices”, creating interrupted sleeping patterns leading to anxiety.

“From the point of the potential for bullying; also kids get obsessed with it, they’re on it all night, lack of sleep, that all contributes to their mental wellbeing,” he said.

“Once upon a time, in my time, you could get bullied between 9am and 3.30pm but then you got home to safety, whereas that doesn’t happen now, it can be 24 hours.

“We’ve got to get kids early with their mental health and we’re seeing now intergenerational mental health.”

Mick has been a wellbeing officer for 20 years, with a background in teaching and social work, and is involved with Recharge, a program that supports kids with their mental health.

He said parents and teachers could often misunderstand kids as having behavioural issues when they were struggling with mental health and fitting into mainstream schools.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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