Essays, exams, deadlines and the looming spectre of future after college – all plenty of reasons for students to feel stressed out and anxious.
A student-led initiative to promote preventative stress treatments, wellbeing awareness and self-care at Launceston College welcomed several local organisations into the school to help students manage the demands on their time and mental health.
From taking time out to pet a furry friend to picking up a book and having a relaxing read, students were given plenty of options to help them de-stress, take some time out, and refuel.
Year 12 students Sophie Burgess and Emily Britton were part of the Student Representative Council who put the day together, and said it had been well received by students and staff alike.
“We’ve been organising and coordinating it for quite a few weeks now,” Sophie said.
Emily said many students had been given options that were quite small and simple to make a positive change – free headache-relieving essential oils, a snack of fresh fruit, or doing something for others such as donating money to Variety charity.
“We had sessions during essay times for mental health and how to do things yourself for it,” she said.
Mindfulness about personal mental health and encouraging people to speak up and be open about challenges they face were important for students.
Launceston College teacher Tika Varma said for many students, moving to Launceston College was a big change from a regional or rural high school, and it could be a challenge to adjust to the differences living in the city.
Knowing where to go for help, who to speak to, and how to manage stress and personal health was key for students to develop and take ownership of their own learning and future, she said.
Assistant Principal Jacquie Everton said exam pressure was a big thing for students.
“I think for young people at this age … a lot of them already have jobs, a lot of them are wondering what they’re going to do when they leave College and they’re not sure what their pathway is,” she said.
“Anything we can do to support students in knowing where to get help – that’s the really important thing.”
Making stress balls out of balloons and rice proved a popular, if messy, activity, as did make-your-own-care-plans, designed to be folded up in a star shape and placed in a pocket or wallet to remind people of simple things to do, such as take a nap, go for a walk, or talk to a friend.
Key support organisations such as headspace were also in attendance on the day, giving students information on local support services they could access at any time should they need help.