New Smiling Mind program to benefit mental health in country schools

TEAM SUPPORT: The team at Smiling Mind look to support regional and rural schools through a new program into 2021.
TEAM SUPPORT: The team at Smiling Mind look to support regional and rural schools through a new program into 2021.

Regional and rural students in the state are expected to grow with the roll out of a new wellbeing initiative to hit primary schools from next year.

Applications are now open for the free whole of school mental health and wellbeing program being offered by Smiling Mind.

Smiling Mind is a non-for-profit web and app-based meditation program developed by psychologists and educators to help bring mindfulness into people's lives.

Importantly, the latest initiative is designed to support students to develop a range of skills, with both students and their teachers being able to see a range of benefits following the program.

This includes achieving engaged and focused students, calmer classrooms, greater emotional regulation and increased resilience.

According to Smiling Minds, the concept will provide teachers evidence-based "professional development" workshops and tools, supporting the development of "sustainable" mental health habits.

It is expected to be carried out in over 6000 selected regional and rural primary schools with an online delivery over three terms.

With one in seven Australian children experiencing mental ill-health, instilling good mental health strategies from a young age is vital.

Smiling Mind CEO, Dr Addie Wootten

Teachers who receive training on how to support a whole of school approach to mindfulness based social and emotional learning will be labelled at the champions.

They will be given access to the newly developed Smiling Mind Learning Hub through the program.

The online hub will be looking to provide teachers in remote areas the opportunity to "connect" and "share experiences" with educators across the country through the program.

This program will allow participating schools to have access to wellbeing surveys and measurement tools, enabling them to "track" the "impact" of the program on students and teachers.

Smiling Mind CEO and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Addie Wootten said "with one in seven Australian children experiencing mental ill-health, instilling good mental health strategies from a young age is vital".

"The scale of this funding will allow Smiling Mind to reach more schools than ever before, resulting in widespread impact."

Schools in regional and rural South Australia will be trained at the start of Term 1.

The program has been further boosted by a $2.5 million funding boost over four years from the Australian Government.

For more information on Smiling Mind's Regional and Rural Schools Program, or to sign up for an information session (webinar), visit: https://info.smilingmind.com.au/regionalruralschools.

This story Wellbeing lessons important in state schools first appeared on Border Chronicle.