Student Wellbeing

As we are all aware, Mental Health is becoming an increasing issue for many in our society, not least for the young people in our care. At Padua we are committed to doing all we can to work with families to develop opportunities for development and education in this field. We have been very fortunate to work closely with Headspace and remain committed to the ongoing nature of this highly beneficial relationship. This week we had a staff session run by Headspace that focussed on helping staff to identify early indicators of mental illness or presentations of distress. This session enabled some very practical hands-on application of some basic mental first aid. Following this presentation on Monday, we held a Parent Information Evening regarding adolescent responses to grief, again an informative and practical session facilitated by Headspace.

On Tuesday the College took the very unusual step of having all House Co-ordinators, Pastoral Co-ordinators, some Heads of Campus and some members of the Wellbeing Team participate in a full day of training on SAFEminds. The SAFEminds program has been developed to engage schools and families in a partnership to ensure a holistic and well-informed approach to the mental wellbeing of our young people. The SAFEminds acronym stands for 'Schools and Families Enhancing Minds' and is designed to be a solution focussed approach to noticing unusual behaviours in young people and putting appropriate early intervention strategies into action. The full day of training was incredibly valuable to our staff and the next step will be a planning session to determine how best to communicate all relevant information to members of our wider school community.

On a whole school level we are moving toward the implementation of a Positive Education approach to our Pastoral Care sessions with young people. The Pos Ed movement is one that looks at enhancing resilience, empathy, gratitude, mindfulness, grit, perseverance and spirituality in the lives of our young people. It is a way of teaching young people to be consciously engaged in their own emotional journey and to be responsible for taking action to identify and deal with negative emotions. All contemporary research shows that teaching young people strategies to be reflective and responsible for shifting their thinking enables not only greater mental health, but has significant flow on effects to their academic and social success. The roll out of our Pos Ed approach will commence on 18 August  at our staff Professional Learning Day and will be strategically implemented across the College in the coming three years.

Parents can experience some of this development in resilience education by attending the evening organised by the Padua Parent group where guest speaker Hugh Van Cuylenburg will speak. Hugh’s message about resilience is one of the most powerful I have heard and all parents will benefit from his talk. Please join us and make a booking on this link:

Wellbeing is a key area of focus at Padua; we are working hard to implement programs and training that are preventative in nature and that ensure we educate all in our community about the importance of caring for our mental health. We look forward to engaging further with families as part of the SAFEminds program. If any parents or other members of the community would like information from any of the sessions that have been run at the College please e-mail me at and I will forward flyers and fact sheets prepared by Headspace.


As part of our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our students, the College provides appropriate and timely education for Year 12 students as they start the process of leaving school. For parents this can be a difficult time to navigate. The following are some resources available to parents to assist with being as well informed as possible about ‘schoolies’. This information comes via Catholic Education Melbourne:

School Leavers Week (Schoolies) 2017 and Parental Advice for Adolescent Alcohol Use

* For many Victorian school leavers, ‘Schoolies’ is a time to celebrate a milestone in their lives, but this shouldn’t mean attending events that may impact health and safety or cause problems for the communities they decide to visit.

* Talking to young people about the risks associated with alcohol is an important step for parents and teachers in reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm.

* For advice to help prevent or reduce adolescent alcohol use, parents are referred to the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines Parenting Strategies: Preventing Adolescent Alcohol Misuse.

* Any school leavers likely to visit Victorian coastal regions during School Leavers Week should be directed to the official website for registration and safety tips 

 Critical Dates

In Victoria, 25 November – 2 December 2017 is the designated ‘Schoolies Week’ period when safety response teams will be present in Victoria’s coastal resort areas of Surf Coast Shire, Bass Coast Shire and Mornington Peninsula.  Further education for our students will take place closer to the time of their departure from the College.