Men­tal health in schools pe­ti­tion launched

Central Leader - - PUBLIC NOTICES - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

A pe­ti­tion call­ing for com­pul­sory men­tal health ed­u­ca­tion in New Zealand schools is gain­ing mo­men­tum.

The pe­ti­tion, launched ear­lier this month, has been signed by nearly 3000 peo­ple.

It was started by Mt Eden res­i­dent Lucy Mc­Sweeney, 21, who hoped to use her per­sonal bat­tle with men­tal health to raise the stan­dard of men­tal health ed­u­ca­tion in schools.

Mc­Sweeney, a univer­sity stu­dent in Auck­land, said she suf­fered men­tal health is­sues to­wards the fi­nal years of high school.

‘‘I wasn’t pre­pared to deal with it, and also im­por­tantly, nei­ther were my friends - it is tough and scary for young peo­ple to see their friend change,’’ she said.

Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s spokesman Karl Le Quesne said men­tal health ed­u­ca­tion was com­pul­sory in all schools for year 9 and year 10 stu­dents through the sub­ject health which cov­ered stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, loss and grief.

Af­ter year 10 health sub­jects are not com­pul­sory but stu­dents have ac­cess to coun­cil­lors.

‘‘The re­sponse from the pe­ti­tion shows that the cur­rent sys­tems in place are not enough,’’ Mc­Sweeney said.

Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School head­mas­ter Pat Drumm said men­tal health ed­u­ca­tion should not be just part of a cur­ricu­lum but a school cul­ture.

TORIKA TOKALAU/FAIR­FAX NZ

Fol­low­ing her own jour­ney with men­tal health, Lucy Mc­Sweeney is pe­ti­tion­ing for bet­ter men­tal health ed­u­ca­tion in schools.

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