Mental help: Mount Clear students Garry Singh and Sabine Vissers with the school’s new mental health practitioner Kat Patten. Photo: RUBY STALEY

Clear minds at Mount Clear

October 22, 2020 BY

MID-October was Mental Health Week and as part of the event the State Government announced schools across the region will now have access to on campus mental health support.

As part of the rollout, Mount Clear College welcomed a new mental health practitioner to assist the students get back into school and on their feet.

The school’s new practitioner Kat Patten said the pandemic has been a challenging time for younger people to find services and support for their mental health.

“It’s great that the students feel comfortable seeking support, now that they can here in person,” she said.

“Mental health is a spectrum … so there’s no problems too big or small, you can come and see me for support on anything.

“Here at the college, there’s a shack where the students can come in and request to meet with me … I can do one on one work, work with student bodies, also referring out to other agencies like Headspace if need be.”

The initiative will see mental health professionals placed in government schools across the state to provide counselling, early intervention services, and support.

One of Mount Clear’s students Sabine Vissers said she expects a lot of her peers will take these new services on board and that’ll be helpful for those struggling during this time.

“It’s been really difficult for a lot of kids over the course of remote learning, having to sit in front of a computer screen all day, not being able to communicate with friends,” she said.

“So, it’s really good that they’re adding new mental health support for students and placing a practitioner in the school.”

The Victorian Government’s $51.2 million initiative provided state secondary schools in the region with funding for mental health practitioners for term 3 this year.

Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle said Mental Health Week is the time to reflect on how what support can be provided to people going through a difficult time.

“Having mental health practitioners in our secondary schools will mean delivering support where it’s needed,” she said.

“With the program, in the area we have Mount Clear, Phoenix College and Woodman’s Hill who will also receive mental health practitioners.

“We know that when our kids are happy and well supported, they can focus on their learning and have the best opportunity to succeed in education and excel in life.”