Mental Health and Young Victorians

30 Nov 2021

The publication of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental Health marked a historic moment for the mental health system and service. IPAA Victoria was delighted to host this online event alongside PwC Australia: Mental Health and Young Victorians: How can schools, evidence and support services work together could not have come at a more important time.

The event hosted an expert panel discussion with speakers from across a wide variety of sectors; Suzanne Trease, Justin McDonnell, Professor Susan Sawyer AM MBBS MD FRACP, Dr Peter Goss hosted by Nick Chiam, as they discussed the challenges and complexities of supporting mental health during the midst of a pandemic.

Mental health has always been a priority to school leaders but managing mental health and wellbeing while managing remote learning has created a new demand on teachers who do not necessarily have the time or resources to appropriately deal with the challenges being faced. Susanne set the scene in the education sector and demonstrated the complexity of young lives. The pandemic has in particular turned their world on their heads.

Data has shown and demonstrates that secondary age and young people have been most affected and consistently impacted by the pandemic. Susan exprobrates that the pandemic has reinforced the importance of social context for their mental health and wellbeing; young people are hard-wired to socially engage with their peers.

Adolescent and young adulthood are developing capability that underpins not only future employment, relationship and future health and wellbeing. Summarising that health and wellbeing is a capacity to learn as well as an outcome for a quality school.

The pandemic has created an overwhelming nature of demand, that has shifted the dial to treat mental disorders to investing capabilities. Developing mental health services has been the focus for Victoria for the past decade. But investment Is needed in the social underpinning that requires a completely new orientation, to be shared very broadly with the health sector and education.

The result and timing of the royal commission couldn’t have come at a better time, leading into a pandemic rather than years after. Justin McDonnell pinpoints that there are some fantastic provocations for government and the public service. There is a broad acceptance that central to the role of schools is mental health and wellbeing. Mental health and wellbeing are critical to not only education but also life success. Quoting The Royal commission

‘Good mental health and wellbeing is not just the absence of mental illness but it’s the ability to fully and effectively participate in society’. 

Taking what is a growing census around what are the issues at a research, system and school level and making them have an impact. In order to set schools up to succeed.

Dr Peter Goss reflected, though there have been more resources the is a growing concern that the need is running further ahead. Posing the question what does success look like? There is a balance between promoting good mental health and wellbeing and then responding with effective support. Establishing a need for a system that not only adapts but continuously improves. Applying the best practise in an integrated way and further identifies the impacts that these efforts are making.

Thank you to all the speakers, attendees, and PwC Australia for this invaluable session.

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Tags: Wellbeing