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