School awarded for mental health

School awarded for mental health

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mental health
Westfield Primary School has been recognised for its dedicated, holistic approach to mental health. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A decade-long effort by Westfield Park Primary School to promote and support mental wellbeing in the classroom has been recognised with the WA Mentally Healthy 2022 Education Award.

“We were really chuffed, everyone was over the moon when we heard,” principal Steve Soames said.

“This community tends to get a bad rap and hopefully this award is giving our community a reason to be proud.

“It’s been quite a few years of work in this space, it’s an acknowledgement and recognition of all of our staff.”

The awards, presented by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH), acknowledge individuals, organisations, groups and projects for outstanding contributions to the State’s mental health sector and for benefitting the wellbeing of the WA community.

WAAMH CEO Taryn Harvey said the calibre of the record-breaking 170 nominations received was impressive.

“Our sector is full of quiet achievers who are passionate, and we feel it’s important to highlight their achievements, innovation and dedication,” Ms Harvey said.

The 2022 Mentally Healthy Education Award was delivered to Westfield Park Primary School by Commissioner for Children and Young People Jacqueline McGowan-Jones, who commended the school for its “relationship-based approach”.

“They also support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and volunteers by maintaining an inclusive and supportive workplace culture. Great work,” the commissioner said.

The award comes at the end of 10 years of commitment to supporting the mental wellbeing of staff and students alike.

“One of the most notable developments over the last 10 years has been the school leadership’s ability to bring the school community through a process of becoming an attachment aware and trauma informed school,” the school’s award submission read.

“The school has provided staff with ongoing professional development in the area of mental health, wellbeing, trauma and child development.

“An important factor in this was that the staff having the knowledge and understanding of the community they serve.

“By providing this relational approach and secure environment, we enable children, families, staff and volunteers to feel heard, validated and cared for.”

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