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Focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing

It is a myth that children don’t experience mental illnesses
On 2 June 2015, the staff at Everton Park State School received professional development on mental illness as an on-going focus on this area in our school.   If you think/feel you child needs help please talk to your class teacher.
What is a mental illness?
A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves and interacts with other people.  It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria.
Did you know?
·          14 –15% percent of Australian children and adolescents aged 4-15 have a mental illness or behavioural problems.
·          This rate of mental health problems is found in all age and gender groups.
·          Boys were slightly more likely to experience mental health problems than girls.
·          There is a higher prevalence of child and adolescent mental health problems among those living in low-income, step/blended and sole-parent families.
·          Only one out of every four/five young persons with mental health problems had received professional health care.
·          Even among young people with the most severe mental health problems, only 50% receive professional help.
(Commonwealth Department of Health, 2014)
Children’s mental health difficulties are generally classified as being one of two types:
·          ‘internalising’ and
·          ‘externalising’.
Children with internalising difficulties show behaviours that are inhibited and over-controlled. They may have a nervous or anxious temperament and be worried, fearful, withdrawn, or depressed.
Children with externalising difficulties show behaviours that are under-controlled. They may have a more challenging temperament, shown in impulsive or reactive behaviour.
The relationship between a carer (parent, guardian, teacher, etc) and child can be viewed as a circle, the Circle of Security.  The Circle of Security helps the carer see the different needs that come with the reaction of the child in their care.  Rather than jump to discipline, the Circle of Security aims to find out the reason behind the behaviour and what the child needs.
Lasting change comes from parents’ developing specific relationship skills rather than learning techniques to manage behaviours.  These skills include:
·          Being able and willing to observe a child’s behaviour and to understand how it fits within the child’s current developmental abilities.
·          Being able to reflect on what a behaviour might mean
·          Being able to help their child regulate (take control over) emotions
·          Being able to empathise with their child
Many years of research have shown that children that are more securely attached:
·          Enjoy more happiness with their parents
·          Feel less anger at their parents
·          Get along better with friends
·          Have stronger friendships
·          Are able to solve problems with friends
·          Have better relationships with brothers and sisters
·          Have higher self-esteem
·          Know that most problems will have an answer
·          Trust that good things will come their way
·          Trust the people they love
·          Know how to be kind to those around them