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In support of mental health at school

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Deborah Friend

IT WAS a sea of green at Proserpine State High School, as students came together to mark Queensland Mental Health Week (October 7 to 15, 2023).

Pupils streamed into the school’s quadrangle area at lunch break, on Thursday, October 12, 2023, for the Healthy Mind, Body and Soul Expo.

They were greeted by a wide range of different organisations that can help young people with their mental health, as well as business students selling products for money, which will go towards a local mental health service.

School principal Don McDermid said it was about mental health, and also emotional and social health.

“I think for us, the week is an opportunity to show that mental health is important in everyone’s life,” he said.

“We know that education is about academic achievement, but also social and emotional learning and development have to be part of the experience at school, to get success for our young people.”

School guidance officer Karen O’Keefe said that the student support services department had worked hard to stage the annual event, now in its second year and bigger than last year’s inaugural event.

“There are about 20 community organisations this year, more than last year,” she said.

“I have even had people asking for an invite after hearing about it!”

The Healthy Mind, Body and Soul Expo was one of many activities held at the school every day during Mental Health Week, including before school, morning tea and lunch events.

From a Big Brekky Bonanza, to an Indigenous Art project, and a session on making stress balls – and everything in between – it was all there.

And canny seniors were selling pizzas at lunchtime, on Thursday, with a rather long queue of hungry students, rivalled only by the queue for fairy bread.

Students were entertained by the school’s own musicians, from the music department, playing Blondie no less, as they ate.

The team at the Student Advisory Centre are: Arthur Gabey, Community Education Counsellor, Kellie Macdonald, First Nations Teacher aid, Karen Dachs, School based Health nurse, Brad Smith, Youth Support Coordinator, Steph Jessup, Social Worker and Karen O’Keefe, Guidance Officer.

The organisations represented at the expo were:

Headspace Whitsunday 41 Main Street PROSERPINE QLD  4800
Youthspace 65 Marathon Street PROSERPINE QLD  4800
Whitsunday Counselling & Support P O Box 65 CANNONVALE QLD  4802
PCYC Whitsunday 2489 Shute Harbour Road AIRLIE BEACH QLD  4802
Link and Launch C/- Proserpine State High School P O Box 220 PROSERPINE QLD  4800
Deadly Choices Mackay Base Hospital 475 Bridge Road MACKAY  QLD  4740
Proserpine Library 12 Main Street PROSERPINE QLD 4800
Telluric Health Proserpine Shop 1/124 Main Street PROSERPINE QLD  4800
Women’s Well Co. 69 Marathon Street PROSERPINE QLD  4800
HMM Health P O Box 424 CANNONVALE QLD  4800
Principle Movements  
PSHS School Clubs: Y10 Business classes – Scarlett Fotti-
Sporting Clubs: Whitsunday Weightlifting  
Whitsunday Sailing Club  
Cannonvale Cannons Swimming Club  
Whitsunday Kyokushin Karate  
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