29 November 2018

On Friday 9 November, 1,500 Year 9 and 10 students converged on Sydney Olympic Park, keen to learn about mental health and set a new Guinness World Record at the same time!

The World’s Largest Mental Health Awareness lesson, hosted by the NSW Department of Education, was a huge success. The Commission saw first-hand how a stadium of young people could be quiet when asked to do a mindfulness exercise – it was inspiring.

Delivered by headspace national manager Kristen Douglas and Sydney Secondary College PDHPE teacher Kim Harper, the aim was to encourage discussion on mental health and introduce students to the importance of mental resilience to overcome the stresses and challenges of everyday life.

NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey was delighted to see schools, community-based organisations and the NSW Government come together to promote wellbeing and resilience for students.

“The resilience that comes from good mental health and wellbeing is the foundation of safer and healthier schools, families, workplaces and communities. To develop this resilience, we must start at the beginning – with childhood.

It is critical that we develop school-based programs and get in early to ensure that the next generation is equipped with the tools to cope with tough life events and to connect with the people around them when they are struggling.” Ms Lourey said.

During the 40-minute lesson, students were taught about the importance of having open conversations about mental wellness, where to seek help if required, and how to help a friend in need, as well as practical meditation and stress-reduction techniques.

The recording of the lesson and supporting content will be available to all schools in December 2018. For more information, visit: https://education.nsw.gov.au/news/announcements/we-did-it!-new-record-raises-awareness-of-mental-fitness.

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Last updated: 10 November 2020