[fusion_text]Mindfulness in schools is not turning out the way we all thought it would! The system still needs fixing. Let’s train the teachers to deliver mindfulness to our children – properly so our kids enjoy the practice and learn how to flourish. What’s the point of achieving the highest grades, or earning the highest income after school – if you never learn how to flourish?
These days we know that schools need to teach more than maths and English-and I’m not talking about the introduction of cultural studies! I’m talking about teaching children about mindfulness, wellbeing and the importance of participating in activities that promote personal growth.
According to Martin Seligman (the father of positive psychology), wellbeing can be described as feeling good through positive emotional, social and psychological experiences. Additionally, as we all know, good physical health is also a form of wellbeing… and while most schools have considered physical health programs, they have been slower to embrace educational programs that promote positive mental health.
Mental Health Awareness
The process of change is not only slow but overdue considering the research findings that measure the mental health of Aussie’s. For example, the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing showed that around one in four Australian youth are at risk of developing a mental disorder (25% of young people aged 16 to 24 years). Worse still, research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) found that almost half the population (aged 16-85 years) have experienced a mental health problem. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation (2008) estimated that in Australia, neuropsychiatric disorders contribute to 29% of the global burden of disease. While the female suicide rate is recorded to be 4.4 per 100,000 of the population, male suicide rate is 16.7 per 100,000. In 2007-08, 1.4 million Australians were treated for mental illness (WHO, 2008).
Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools
This is why it’s important that each and every school is teaching the art of flourishing to children- as individuals, and as groups. This can only be accomplished by introducing effective and well supported mental health programs into our schools. Although Seligman (2011) suggests that understanding and achieving satisfactory levels of wellbeing, at both the individual and group level should be a priority of governments, in order for that to become a reality, the citizens need to loudly and actively get involved in promoting programs that teach flourishing in schools.
You can make a difference, I can make a difference and together we can all make a difference for our children! Ask your school Principal what kind of wellbeing programs have been implemented into your child’s school. Please feel free to share programs in the comments section.
Below, I have created links to Mindfulness for Children programs and our non-profit campaign for empowering parents to bring mindfulness into the family home. Additionally, to ensure you have plenty of resources to take to your Principal in your proactive attempt to make change, I have provided links for keeping up to date with government initiatives, policy and procedures.
Easier still, just email this blog to your School Principal or P&C for consideration.
If you would like to stay informed with topics like this please feel free to leave your email to receive our blogs.
Onsite mindfulness training for children and teachers – currently available in Sydney. Online training available to all.
Check out our internationally accredited online mindfulness training courses here
Read about our – Not for profit Mindfulness For Children Campaign: M.F.C – (18th May). Mindful Smiles Day
Australian government: A Healthy and Active Australia – www.healthyactive.gov.au
KidsMatter: Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative www.kidsmatter.edu.au
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007). 4326.0 – National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Main Features. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4326.0Media%20Release12007?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4326.0&issue=2007&num=&view=
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007). 4326.0 – National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Summary of Findings. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4326.0Main%20Features32007?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4326.0&issue=2007&num=&view=
Seligman, M (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness. New York, NY: Free Press.
World Health Organization. (2008). Mental Health Atlas 2011 – Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Australia. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/atlas/profiles/aus_mh_profile.pdf?ua=1
World Health Organization, (2014). Mental Health Atlas. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/178879/1/9789241565011_eng.pdf?ua=1