A program supporting the wellbeing of First Nations students at Green Hill Public School has won a statewide mental health award.
Run by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service based in Port Macquarie, the Getting on Track in Time program was one of only eight recipients of a Wayahead Mental Health Matters Award at a function in Sydney on Friday, October 6.
The awards coincide with Mental Health Month and recognise the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked to improve understanding, awareness, service provision and the general mental health of NSW communities.
The school, which is in west Kempsey, had just 27 students in 2022, according to its annual report. The Getting on Track in Time program was a primary focus of its year and involved both students and their families.
"An extensive planning process was undertaken to ensure that the program was culturally safe and respectful of the protocols of the local Aboriginal community," the report read.
School procedures and practices were reviewed and modified; family events were held; communication was improved and a community garden was established, among other initiatives. As a result, there was an increase in family engagement, a decrease in negative student behaviour and an increase in student attendance.
In congratulating winners, NSW Minister for Mental Health Rose Jackson said: " Wayahead does a great job driving awareness of mental health and linking people to support services."
"We all have a part to play in helping people, even if it is just starting a conversation."
The winners were chosen from 24 finalists across eight categories.
Wayahead CEO Sharon Grocott said the diversity of projects accurately reflects this year's Mental Health Month theme of "we all have a role to play".
Workplace Wellbeing Award - Recovery 2gether (R2G) delivered by One Door Mental Health Parramatta - a program to support people with mental illness to recover at work with frameworks to create psychologically safe teams.
Community Initiative Award - Soul and Wellbeing Encounters delivered by House to Grow Ltd, North Strathfield/Granville - a program to connect, educate and empower women to live healthier and happier lives.
Youth Award - Getting on Track in Time delivered by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Port Macquarie - a social and emotional support program for children aged five to eight years old at Greenhill Public School who identified as First Nations, and their parents.
Rainbow Inclusion Award - The Muslim Peers Project delivered by Outloud Inc (Bankstown) - a program for young queer or questioning Muslims experiencing mental health distress, providing free anonymous counselling with a Muslim Peer Manager, as well as community peer connection.
Aboriginal Social And Emotional Wellbeing Award - a healing program 'Kalypi Paaka Mirika' delivered by Maari Ma Health, Broken Hill - a program designed to empower Aboriginal families, communities and relevant agencies to work together to reduce family violence in Aboriginal communities.
Media And The Arts Award - Admissions + MAD Poetry delivered by Red Room Poetry, Port Kembla - a program that creates a safe writing space for emerging voices with a lived/living experience of mental health issues to express how they see the world.
Mental Health Promotion Award - My Drought Story delivered by Hunter New England Local Health District and C7EVEN Marketing and Communications, Tamworth - an awareness campaign implemented across drought-affected areas of NSW to encourage people in drought-impacted communities to share their experiences.
Julie Leitch Leadership through Lived Experience Award - Mark Robertson - One Vision Productions delivered by MPOWER, Byron Bay - an online personal empowerment toolkit for those struggling with their mental health.
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