GVGS staff and parents taught positive mental health

By Liz Mellino

Mindfulness and positive mental health were the topics of discussion at Goulburn Valley Grammar School last week.

Child adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg visited the school on Wednesday to offer staff and parents strategies to improve their own mental health and that of the students.

With a respected career in corporate mental health, and specialising in families, parenting, children and adolescents, Mr Carr-Gregg held two sessions at the school. 

"One is to the staff, looking after their mental health and giving them some strategies to look after themselves ... because if the teachers are okay then that’s a great start to the students," Mr Carr-Gregg said.

"I'll then talk to the parents about how to build happy and resilient young people, which is pretty important in rural and remote Victoria because the mental health of young people is not flash at the moment."

Mr Carr-Gregg said statistics showed suicide rates had generally doubled in the past 10 years, with suicide rates three times higher in the country than in the city.

With this in mind he said he hoped to give parents the strategies to build resilience and positivity in their children.

"For the parents, I want to give them the skills, the knowledge and the strategies to build resilience in their young people and to understand the principals of wellbeing which are drawn from positive psychology," Mr Carr-Gregg said.

During his sessions, Mr Carr-Gregg also addressed the occupational stress teachers faced in their roles.

He said by acknowledging this and giving staff a range of apps and websites they could use, he hoped they could improve their mental health through exercise, diet, relationships and mindfulness.

"I really think they need to look after themselves in terms of their mental health ... I think they're asked to do more now with less than ever before," Mr Carr-Gregg said.

"They basically have to deal with a generation of young people who have probably the worst mental health for a long time in the history of Australians, so I think it’s a tough job."