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Muswellbrook High School to benefit from mental health first aid program

Youth Mental Health program

Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS) is excited to announce its success in receiving a community grant from nib foundation. This generous grant will enable Teen Mental Health First Aid (TMHFA) to be delivered to 259 students in years 10 and 11 and Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) courses to be delivered to 40 parents, carers and teachers of Muswellbrook High School.

The programs aim to improve the mental health literacy of staff, parents and students within high school communities and promote early-help seeking and treatment for adolescent mental health problems.

Rebecca Eveleigh, UHCS Youth Development Officer, explained how UHCS has been working with Muswellbrook High School and local Mental Health First Aid facilitators to bring this vital service to the local community.

"UHCS is committed to building community strength and capacity by supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of those in need. We are delighted to be able to assist Muswellbrook High School with the delivery of an internationally recognised mental health program that will benefit not only the immediate school community but the entire region," said Ms Eveleigh.

Rachel Kable, Head Teacher Welfare at Muswellbrook High School, praised UHCS and nib foundation for their support and proactive approach to helping the school community continue their efforts in ensuring the health and wellbeing of students.

"Muswellbrook is a rural town and it’s quite limited in the mental health services that young people can access. By empowering students with the knowledge from the Mental Health First Aid program, we will be developing support networks for our students. This program will also allow us to establish and communicate positive avenues to access help and raise awareness of the support services that are available to students" said Ms Kable.

By educating people on mental health the aim of the program is to reduce suicide rates and build a stronger, more informed school community to better meet the needs of their young people. It will also help reduce the stigma associated with mental health and build positive relationships between students and their peers, teachers and carers.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said the foundation is proud to be working with UHCS on such an important initiative to improve the mental and social wellbeing of Muswellbrook's youth population.

"This initiative is the perfect fit for our established Community Grant Program, that supports practical grassroots causes that aim to assist vulnerable individuals by enabling them to better cope with health challenges through improved resilience, social connectedness, mentoring and peer support," said Ms Tribe.

"The Mental Health First Aid program will achieve this through increased access to reliable and targeted health information and education for young people at risk of mental health problems as well as the support network that surrounds them," she added.

The Mental Health First Aid courses will be delivered in February and March 2017. To find out more about the initiative, visit Upper Hunter Community Services website.