WILLETTON SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
Topic: Maximising Your Child’s Success in High School
February 16, 2018
Presentation notes by Luke Spagnolo, School Psychologist
How do we support students?
Support students with mental health and well-being, behavioural and learning concerns such as:
- Mental health and concerns with mental illness – i.e. depression and anxiety
- Bullying and cyber-bullying
- Academic performance
- Social skills
- Relaxation techniques
- Sleep and eating
- Self care
WHAT ARE COMMON STRESSORS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE THESE DAYS? ARE THEY VERY DIFFERENT TO 10 OR 20 YEARS AGO?
Today's children face many pressures from external and internal sources, for example:
- Stress in schools - There is a lot of pressure on students today to perform at school, and there seem to be even more pressure within the peer group. The increase in the amount of homework students receive, fear of failure, worrying about fitting in, self-identity, and bullying are some of the more common reasons for stress in schools.
- Stress in the family - There are many issues within a family unit that can cause stress in children, for example, parental separation, remarriage (blended family), financial problems, poverty, parental stress, coping with parents who have a mental illness and, commonly, unreasonably high family expectations being placed on children.
- Media stress and environmental dangers - Some children can become worried about things they hear and see on the news or by a generalised fear of strangers, burglars and street violence.
EMONTIONAL RESPONSES - ANXIETY?
- Persistent and excessive worry (to the point it is impacting negatively on day-to-day functioning).
- Ongoing physical symptoms (eg stomach pain, vomiting or headaches).
- Significant sleep disturbances.
- Extreme fearfulness.
- Significant changes in eating habits (poor appetite, overeating or binging).
- Inability to control emotions (eg uncontrollable crying or aggression).
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
WHAT DOES STRESS LOOK LIKE? - BEHAVIOURS
- Irritability or moodiness
- Withdrawing from activities that used to give pleasure
- Clinging; being unwilling to let parents out of sight
- Aggressive behaviour
- Regression to earlier behaviours (ie thumb-sucking or bed-wetting)
- School refusal
- Unwillingness to participate in family or school activities.
Extreme behaviours or comments (ie self-harm or suicidal ideation)
MENTAL HEALTH LINKED TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Research suggests that social and emotional wellbeing is a better long term predictor of academic and job success than just studying or ability level.
Possessing adaptability and resilience
Developing High Emotional Intelligence
Successfully Dealing with Stress (Elmore, 2017)
Anxiety and depression has shown strongest link to university dropout rates and low scores (Eisenberg, Golberstein & Hunt, 2009
HOW CAN PARENTS SUPPORT ACADEMIC SUCCESS?
- Regularly spend calm and relaxing time with their children
- Listen to their children and encourage them to talk about their feelings and worries
- Provide a safe and nurturing family environment
- Encourage physical activity and healthy eating habits
- Use positive encouragement and rewards instead of punitive measures
- Avoid being critical and negative towards their children
- Show active interest in their children's activities and hobbies and participate when possible
- Demonstrate active interest in their children’s school progress and support them with their learning and homework
- Monitor their children's access to media and ensure they are aware of safe online practices
- Support their children if they are exposed to bullying
- Manage their own stress and be a positive role model
- Avoid over-scheduling children and allow them free time to play, read, listen to music or just veg–out
- Help build children's sense of self-worth by recognising their achievements and avoid placing unrealistic expectations on them
- Seek professional help if signs of stress do not decrease
WHO CAN YOU CONTACT IF YOU ARE CONCERNED FOR YOUR CHILD?
- Get in touch with your child’s year coordinator to make them aware of any difficulties or to discuss available supports (such as Student Services Support Team).
- Let your child know they can go to the health centre to make a self-referral to the chaplain or nurse Max
- Let your child know they can go to Student Services to make a self-referral to the school psychologist
- Student Services Contact – (08) 9334 7256
Urgent mental health telephone support for children and families 1800 048 636
(Under 18 years – 24 hours – 7 days)
Crisis Care (24 hours) 9223 1111
Family Help Line 9223 1100
Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service 9420 7201
Kids Help Line 1800 551 800
Lifeline 13 11 14
Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL Metropolitan) 1300 555 788
Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL Peel) 1800 676 822
Parenting WA Line 6279 1200
Fiona Stanley Hospital 6152 2222
Telephone 000 for emergencies
- Chaplaincy Service Ph: 9334 7242
Louise Parish (Mon, Thurs, Fri)
Chris Field (Mon, Tues)
- Nurses (Mon – Fri) Ph: 9334 7278
- School Psychologist Ph: 9334 7256
Luke Spagnolo (Mon – Fri)
- First Aid Officer Ph: 9334 7230
Andy Cheung (Mon – Fri)