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Student Wellbeing Guide for Schools

 

Introduction to Student Wellbeing for Schools

We need to have more conversations with young people about mental health.

In the 2017 Mission Australia Youth Survey Report, mental health was rated by young people as the most important issue affecting Australia today. While most young people reported feeling optimistic about the future, they also saw mental health as one of the major barriers to achieving their work and study goals. 

Issues like anxiety, depression and substance misuse can have a devastating effect on individuals and communities, and if not addressed early, can impact on a young person’s ability to work, socialise and function throughout their life. 

Of the people who experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime, half of those will start having problems before the age of 14. Early detection and intervention are therefore vital to improving the wellbeing of young people who are struggling, preventing the tragedy of suicide, and helping them to flourish in the future. 

But despite this, most young people don’t seek professional help to manage their mental health. And those who are in most need of support, are the least likely to seek it. Which is why, taking the time to support students who are struggling is essential in education.

Below you'll find comprehensive information about a range of student wellbeing topics’ including the importance of student wellbeing programs in schools, how resilience programs for schools can help students through key transitions, the value of theatre-based wellbeing programs for schools and helping primary and high school students build resilience through theatre productions.

Plus, much more!

Read along or use the navigation in the header to jump ahead:

Please also feel free to reach out to our team with any questions you may have, free call 1800 676 224 or to email click here

 

Topic 1: The Importance of Student Wellbeing Programs in Schools

One in four teenagers experience mental health issues. Around 550,000 young Australians between 16 and 24 live with anxiety and depression. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 24. 

Why aren't young people asking for help?

One of the biggest reasons young people don’t seek professional help is stigma.

One type of stigma is the actual or perceived prejudice directed towards people with mental health problems in the community. But according to Dr Claire Kelly, Manager of Youth Programs at Mental Health First Aid Australia, self-stigma can be a bigger barrier for young people when it comes to accessing support. Self-stigma is the internalisation of negative attitudes and beliefs about mental health issues by those who are experiencing them and has a negative impact on self-efficacy and self-esteem. 

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Another major barrier to help-seeking is poor mental health literacy. Young people often have difficulty understanding their psychological distress and knowing whether, or not, their experience is ‘normal’. They may be unsure if they need professional support and may feel confused and isolated. Poor mental health literacy can also make it hard for young people to help family or friends who are suffering.     

A third major barrier to help-seeking is a desire for self-reliance and autonomy. Many young people are reluctant to seek help from others, instead preferring to manage their mental health themselves. According to Dr Kelly, a lot of young people believe "I should be able to cope with this on my own".

So, what makes young people more willing to ask for help? Research shows they are more likely to seek help if they believe services will be beneficial and trustworthy, if they have a history of positive experiences, and if they have encouragement from friends and family. And they’re more likely to seek help if the support can be accessed online, through services like eHeadspace.

How can schools increase help-seeking behaviour?

Teachers can reduce stigma and make mental health a normal topic of conversation by having regular discussions about mental health in the classroom.

Education about the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety and substance misuse will help to improve mental health literacy. And personal experiences of mental health, when shared in a safe and supportive environment, can combat stigma, reduce loneliness and isolation, and empower students to seek further help. ReachOut.com provides good resources for teachers, to help them have these conversations in the classroom. 

It’s important to give students clear and accurate information about the types of help available, including formal and informal supports. Adolescents often turn to their peers first, and we know that encouragement from loved ones is key to increasing help-seeking behaviour. So, it’s good to educate students on how to identify signs that their friends and family may need help, and where to access it. Give them information about key contacts like Kids Helplineheadspace and their local GP. R U OK?'s education resources also provide tips for supporting someone in their life who is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts. 

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We need to challenge common myths and misconceptions about mental health treatment. For instance, we often hear people dismiss a young person's distress, self-harm or suicidal thoughts as "just attention-seeking". Dr Kelly from Mental Health First Aid reminds us that "seeking attention means a person needs attention" and "a cry for help means a person needs help".  It's important for young people to know that if a friend discloses thoughts of suicide this should be taken seriously, and a trusted adult needs to be involved immediately. 

It’s important that we explore with students the options available for treatment. For example, sometimes you don’t click with a counsellor or psychologist straight away, and it can take time to develop a trusting relationship. But it’s also OK to try a different therapist if you really don't feel comfortable. This is important, given that rapport with health professionals is one of the key factors affecting adolescents’ willingness to seek professional help.

It can also help for young people to know they have a right to be involved in decisions about their own mental health care. Health professionals, in collaboration with their parents or caregivers, will aim to respect their autonomy and involve them in decision-making wherever possible.

 

Topic 2: How Resilience Programs for Schools can Help Students Through Key Transitions

Student transition issues

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Transitions are a normal part of development and will be experienced by all children at some point in their lives. Some transitions are planned, others are sudden and unexpected from starting kindergarten, transitioning to high school, adjusting to a new year level, or the move to a new school.

Resilience can be defined as the process of thriving in the face of adversity and challenging life events. The capacity to cope with change is an important protective factor for students and supports their mental health.

Resilience does not mean a life without emotional pain. Instead, resilience is about adapting well in response to stress, and developing skills to manage emotions when they arise. 

Parents and educators are well placed to support children through stressful life events, to help them develop the resilience skills they need to adapt and bounce back. 

Supporting resilience by considering individual differences

While some students will be excited about the prospect of a new school or class, we can't expect all kids to jump into these experiences with exuberance and vigour.

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The way in which children respond to new situations is influenced by their temperament. Some children are naturally drawn to novelty from an early age and will seek out stimulation and excitement. Others are more tentative in new situations and prefer to sit back and observe their environment. Similarly, some children are more sensitive to emotional stimuli, and may require more assistance from adults to regulate their emotions.

Students will do better when the expectations, demands and opportunities of the environment are well matched to their individual characteristics. By considering the temperament of each child, parents and teachers can adapt the environment to suit the specific needs of that child.

Several other factors can influence how a child responds to a new school or classroom. Bullying and problems with social skills can make the transition a bumpy one. Academic difficulties can also impact on a child's adjustment. Children who struggle with schoolwork may feel anxious about learning and have a poor sense of self-efficacy. Those with a history of trauma or significant loss may find transitions particularly challenging.

In some cases, these difficulties can result in a refusal to attend school, increasing the risk of further disadvantage. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that most children will take time to adjust to their new environment, regardless of their temperament and life circumstances. 

Enhancing resilience by preparing them for change

Kids will feel less overwhelmed if they know what to expect from their new environment. Clinical Psychologist Dr Laura Markham provides some tips for easing children into the transition to a new school year. She suggests talking to them about how things might be different in their new school or classroom. Attend orientation activities and organise for them to meet new teachers and classmates where possible. Talk to school staff about their school's systems and expectations. For children who suffer from separation anxiety, it can help to set up a parting ritual and practice saying goodbye.

It can also be good to discuss the opportunities offered by a new year or school. In cases where children have been the target or the perpetrator of bullying, for instance, a new year provides the chance for a fresh start. 

Building resilience by responding to emotions

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The transition to a new school can involve loss and grief. Children may feel sad about leaving their old classroom, teachers or peer group. They may also feel anxious, uncertain and apprehensive about the future. The school community is a source of stability for many students and being removed from this familiar environment can be a big deal. 

Parents and educators can help children to understand that big emotions are a normal response to change. 

'Emotion coaching' is a parenting style that has been linked to positive social and emotional outcomes in young children and is now being adopted by teachers to help manage difficult behaviours and emotions at school. This communication style is based on empathy, awareness and acceptance of emotions, and providing guidance around problem-solving and appropriate behaviour. 

Rather than jumping straight into fixing the problem, spend some time exploring the child's emotional experience. Once they have acknowledged and named their emotions and have had these emotions validated by a trusted adult, then children can start to make sense of their experience and develop their own strategies for managing it. Emotion coaching is informed by attachment theory and is a practical way to build stronger relationships in the classroom and at home.

How resilience programs for schools can help children cope with change

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Parents and educators can help children deal with transitions by providing information about emotional and social skills. Kids need guidance and practical tools to help build confidence and remain resilient in the face of stress. Initiatives such as reachout.com and KidsMatter offer good resilience resources for students, parents and teachers. 

Brainstorm Productions also provides kids with clear, simple strategies for coping with hardship and change, through their school theatre productions.

 

Topic 3: The Value of Theatre-Based Wellbeing Programs for Schools

Theatre in education as a useful wellbeing education resource

Educational institutions across the world have long recognised that the curriculum needs to cater to the broader needs of students; going beyond the core subjects and also focusing on life skills and student wellbeing.

One way to encourage student wellbeing is through storytelling and live theatre. Theatre in education companies, like Brainstorm Productions, can provide a starting point for conversations about mental health in a safe and familiar environment. 

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For example, Brainstorm Productions high school performance 'Wired' aims to improve mental health literacy, reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking through an engaging and relatable narrative. It explores some of the causes and symptoms of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks, and the experience of seeking treatment.

It also provides practical strategies for self-management, including slowed breathing, exercise, breaking overwhelming tasks into manageable steps, setting realistic goals, and talking to family and friends. And it shows two characters connecting through shared experiences, who support each other to seek help and make changes in their lives. 

The performance is followed by a discussion with the actors, where students can further explore the issues. They’re given additional information about crisis services and other sources of support. And they're encouraged to speak to teachers, school counsellors, parents and GPs if they have concerns about their mental health, or that of a friend. Follow-up activities help teachers unpack the issues with their students when they return to the classroom. 

By normalising discussions about mental health, and providing simple and practical information, we can break the silence and make it easier for young people to seek help when they need it. 

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The very act of watching live theatre, means students engage in an act of connectedness; connectedness to each other, the characters and the actors. By watching the nuanced interactions, and empathising with the characters, primary and high school students see the benefits of supporting one another. 

Live theatre allows students to observe interactions from a different perspective. The students pick up body language, non-verbal cues and dialogue that indicate a person is struggling. They observe a character making a subtle bid for connection and see how these opportunities can be

This may help students be more mindful of subtle cues in their own interactions and provide opportunities for behavioural change. These skills may be particularly helpful for kids who struggle to read interpersonal cues and navigate social interactions.

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Topic 4: Helping Primary and High School Students Build Resilience Through Theatre Productions

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Young people’s school years are fraught with real challenges, like exam stress, psychological and hormonal changes, and social changes. These challenges often precipitate mental illness.

Getting the right support for mental health issues is important. It is also important for both primary and high school students to get the tools and skills they need to face these problems, and cope with challenges more effectively. 

Research shows that deficits in problem-solving abilities lead to increases in depression and anxiety. Effective problem-solving skills help in both prevention and treatment of mental health issues.

Building resilience

Knowing you have options and can take control of your life can help you develop resilience and self-worth, so you can face problems more effectively.

Teacher Kris Pereira recently supported a student, who was dealing with a difficult situation.

'He [the student] was quite depressed and hid under his blankets in the morning. He hid under desks before school. He didn't seem to fit in socially with his cohort as he didn't share many interests his mates did. They were into rugby and running around and he wasn't interested in that all that much.'

Ms Pereira found that supporting the student to take perspective and identify ways to address his own problem helped him build resilience. Together, they brainstormed his strengths, and focussed on his interests. Encouraging the student to spend time doing what he loved, helped the student increase his confidence and sense of self. 

‘This has given him permission to be himself,’ says Ms Pereira. ‘He now performs, accompanies and leads the whole school at services and in choir. He is a school leader and is happy in himself. He has run his own radio show at an old people's home this year and is tackling life head on with confidence.

'It's really important to work with the person's strengths and build their interest or passion, to give them confidence to be resilient enough to be themselves,' says Ms Pereira.

Being resilient doesn’t take the problem away; but it can help a person cope with the consequences and find a solution.

Vanessa Lewis is also a teacher. She works in a Special School setting, and regularly helps students build resilience so they can cope with challenges.

‘I teach kids with disabilities, all with intellectual impairments and predominantly on the Autism Spectrum,’ says Ms Lewis. ‘The young people often don't have great resilience and there is no perspective between a big problem and a small one. To them, it is always a big problem. For the person to come up with solutions to their problems helps them to understand and better cope.’ 

Problem-solving strategies

Problem-solving therapy is a formal, empirically proven effective treatment for depression and anxiety. It centres on identifying the problem, coming up with a range of realistic solutions, selecting the best solution, developing an action plan, and assessing how effective the solution has been.

Problem-solving strategies can be used in an informal, everyday context, to help young people cope with their challenges. 

Educational theatre can help students learn the power of effective problem-solving. In Brainstorm Productions high school performance ‘Wired’, the audience and the characters help each other take a step back from the characters’ problems, consider the options and make a decision, so they feel more in control of their lives.

While Brainstorm Productions primary school performance ‘Being Brave’, addresses one of the most common emotional disorder that children experience being anxiety. Macquarie University psychology lecturer Dr Carolyn Schniering has stated that it’s important for children to understand that anxiety is not something to be afraid of. As Dr Schniering says, “It’s a normal emotion and an important part of how we engage with the world.”  

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Identify the problem

Encourage young people to take a moment to assess exactly what is going on. For the characters in Wired and Being Brave, it feels like the world is crashing down, and everything is falling apart. Taking a moment to look at what exactly is going on helps get clarity. Taking a step back from the indiscernible haze of problems also gives students a chance to see possible solutions. 

Identify a range of possible solutions

Depression is characterised by a feeling of hopelessness and feeling like there is no possible alternative. But there are always options. Once we have taken a moment to reflect on the problem, we need to brainstorm possible solutions.

Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats has been used effectively in different domains since the 1980s. Author, educator and resilience coach, Maggie Dent says that tools like Six Thinking Hats are important for encouraging young people to think widely and think critically.

The Six Thinking Hats exercise encourages you to try on different coloured hats: the blue hat represents knowing what the problem is. The white hat gets you too look at the facts. The red hat encourages you to reflect on your emotional, intuitive response. The black hat encourages you to use logic and look at the other side of the argument. The yellow hat gets you to take an optimistic approach to the problem. The green hat encourages creative thinking. With the green hat on, thinking broadly, and without inhibition about the possible options available to you. 

Select the best solution

There is no one right solution. But each possible option will have pros and cons. When facing stress or challenges, it is important to survey each option, and think about which will have the best outcome.

For example, if you struggle with taking exams, the best solution may be to develop a study plan, get support with subjects you find most challenging, sleep well before the night of the exam, and come to the exam equipped with a strategy for taking the test.

The solution may not fix the problem, but just knowing there are options will help you feel more in control.

Develop an action plan

An action plan is developed so you know how to approach the solution. It is important to look at your existing tools and resources. In the case of Ms Pereira’s student, his existing resources were both internal and external. He had skills and interests he could pursue. He also had the support from his teacher, his parents, his school and his community. 

An action plan also has a timeline, and achievable goals along the way. If an exam date is set, work backwards from there. Passing the exam is the goal. The period before the exam needs to be broken into workable steps, so the overall goal is achievable.

Taking a new perspective

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Stepping back from the problem at hand, taking a new perspective and assessing possible options helps make challenges less daunting and overwhelming.

'I believe teaching our children to be effective thinkers, problem solvers and creative engineers will help them on all levels especially emotionally, cognitively and socially and it will build their resilience at the same time,' states resilience coach, Ms Dent. 'I also believe it will improve self-regulation and that has to be a winner for every person.’

Wellbeing Programs for Primary School Students:

The Protectors

The Protectors

The Protectors is an emotional wellbeing resource that has been researched and developed in association with teachers and students. It offers concrete solutions children can practice to protect themselves from hurtful comments and negative behaviours they may encounter in the playground.

Clear instructions on cyber safety are delivered in a fun, memorable way. Children will be able to empathise and appreciate the devastating consequences of cyber bullying. 'The Protectors' unlocks the secrets of body language and gives 'Protector Tools' to curb aggressive behaviour.

Key Themes:

  • Assertiveness
  • Bullying
  • Bystanders
  • Compassion
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Empathy
  • Exclusion
  • Social skills
  • Positive behaviours
  • Positive relationships
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Rumours
  • Self esteem
  • Stress management
  • Teasing


The Human Race

The Human Race

The Human Race is an anti bullying and resilience program for primary schools that reinforces positive relationships, and provides resources to help reduce the incidence of bullying at school and online. It encourages tolerance, kindness, respect and empathy.

Dunc has been bullied. No one wants to be his partner in the race. Dunc’s loyalty, honesty and tenacity are his greatest strengths but, if he is to win the physical, artistic and mental challenges in the Human Race, he will have to overcome his low self-esteem.

Deedee has lied about her age and alienated people by posting mean photos and comments on social media. She is horrified when she has to enter the race with Dunc, the most "embarrassing kid in the whole school".

Dunc and Deedee need to be respectful and compassionate, play by the rules and do their best to reach their potential as citizens of the world. Can they use their skills in conflict resolution and problem solving to complete the challenges?

Key Themes:

  • Assertiveness
  • Bullying
  • Bystanders
  • Compassion
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cooperation
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Decision making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Diversity
  • Empathy
  • Inclusion
  • Kindness
  • Peer pressure
  • Problem solving
  • Relationships
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Restorative practices
  • Social skills
  • Values

 

Sticks & Stones K/P-6

Sticks and Stones

When things go wrong in Toby’s life, or he feels frightened or threatened, he gets all churned up inside. His body tells him to fight, his dad and other kids tell him to fight, even TV shows, Youtube and video games tell him to fight. He’s always in trouble, and is unhappy at home and at school.   

He learns to stop, breathe, put his hands in his pockets, walk away, count to ten and talk about his feelings. He learns how to stay safe at school and online.

When Toby decides to break the habit and take responsibility for his own actions he begins to develop positive relationships. He stands tall, becomes assertive and co-operates with other kids to create a circus routine, with acrobatics, unicycling and juggling.  

Key Themes:

  • Aggression
  • Anger management
  • Assertiveness
  • Bullying
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cooperation
  • Cyber safety
  • Empathy
  • Friendship
  • Impulse control
  • Positive behaviours
  • Positive relationships
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Safety
  • Self esteem
  • Social skills
  • Stop Think Do

 

Saving Lil and Archie

Saving Lil and Archie

There is pandemonium on Planet Arkon when two robots, Lil and Zig, are zapped to earth and into the lives of two 12 year olds, Bella and Archie. Bella is being bullied and Archie has no friends.

Through their encounters with these unexpected guests, Bella learns to be assertive and to 'report' and 'log off', or walk away, when her connections become negative and nasty. Archie begins to understand his emotions and the emotions of others.

Archie realises that lack of sleep and hours of screen time make him angry and unable to make positive connections with real people. In order to restore the balance, Archie learns that he must control his impulses and engage in more positive behaviours so that Lil and Zig can return to Arkon.

Key Themes:

  • Aggression
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Assertiveness
  • Bullying
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cooperation
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Empathy
  • Excessive screen time
  • Impulse control
  • Positive online connections
  • Positive relationships
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Responsible use of technology
  • Safety
  • Self esteem
  • Sleep
  • Social skills
  • Stop Think Do

 

The H Team

The H Team

This exciting adventure story inspires students to take responsibility for their own behaviour and wellbeing.

Cal and Mindi are accidentally transported from the safety of the 'H-Zone' and left without their positive mindsets. Peer pressure and social media make Mindi anxious and competitive. Cal becomes isolated and is obsessed with junk food and aggressive video games. Struggling with low self-esteem, they succumb to bullying and excessive screen time.

They must learn to critically evaluate the mediastand up to bullying and make good decisions

The H-Team fosters teamworkimpulse control, and resilience, to create healthy and harmonious school communities. An interactive song reinforces the poistive message. 

 

Key Themes:

  • Advertising
  • Assertiveness
  • Bullying
  • Bystanders
  • Concentration
  • Consumerism
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Decision making
  • Excessive screen time
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Media pressure
  • Motivation
  • Peer pressure
  • Positive behaviours
  • Resilience
  • Self esteem
  • Teasing
  • Values
  • Wellbeing 

 

The Magic Words

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Zanna and Rolf learn that bullying, telling lies online, and posting hurtful comments and photos on social media can have damaging consequences. Rolf discovers that the secret to happiness is giving and receiving respect, being proud of your actions and achievements, and co-operating to reach a goal. Powerful insights indeed!

Senior students will learn the impact of peer pressure, plagiarism, fraud and telling lies. We also address tact and other positive life skills that will protect them in the future.

Key Themes:

  • Bullying
  • Cooperation
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Empathy
  • Ethics
  • Happiness
  • Honesty
  • Manners
  • Relationships
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Self esteem
  • Self respect
  • Social skills
  • Values

 

Being Brave

 

Being Brave gives children strategies to deal with their emotions through good communication, persistence and positive self-talk - making them more resilient. This inspiring show uses song, dance and drama to give children strategies to bounce back after dealing with bullying, loss and change.

Researched and developed in consultation with teachers and school counsellors, this emotional wellbeing resource is carefully crafted to ensure children can relate to the scenarios.

Key Themes:

  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Bullying
  • Resilience
  • Positive relationships
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Positive self-talk
  • Healthy relationships
  • Loss
  • Sharing stories
  • Persistence
  • Showing feelings
  • Communication
  • Accepting change
  • Student wellbeing

 

Buddies

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Lucy is impulsive and breaks the rules to try to fit in. Charlie is being bullied but he's afraid to stand up for himself and show his true feelings. 

As players in an exciting virtual reality video game, Charlie and Lucy must co-operate to navigate the cyber chamber, overcome the forces of Aggrator, earn the eight ‘Friendship Discs’ and restore the ‘Ancient Ring of Friendship’.

Together they realise that a true friend is someone who is kind, tells the truthlistens, makes you feel safe and allows you to be yourself

Key Themes:

  • Cyber safety
  • Cyber bullying
  • Teasing
  • Positive relationships
  • Friendship
  • Assertiveness
  • Social skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Anger management
  • Resilience
  • Empathy
  • Exclusion

 

Wellbeing Programs for High School Students:

Verbal Combat

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When cyber bullying is anonymous and undercover:

WHO’S responsible?

WHAT drives cyber bullies to send that nasty message, post that hurtful comment or embarrassing photo on Facebook or Snapchat?

WHY are some people more likely to be a target and why is it hard for victims to be assertive or resilient?

WHERE can they go if or when they are being cyber bullied?

HOW can we stop cyber bullying from happening?

A cleverly crafted narrative allows students to examine these questions AND their own behaviour.

Key Themes:

  • Bullying
  • Bystanders
  • Consequences
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Digital reputation
  • Empathy
  • Exclusion
  • Gossip
  • Harassment
  • Insults
  • Isolation
  • Manipulation
  • Positive relationships
  • Resilience
  • Responsible use of technology
  • Rumours
  • Safety
  • Social media
  • Threats

 

Sticks & Stones yrs. 7-10

Sticks-and-Stones

Two energetic young performers explore the different forms of bullying at school, in the street, at home and online. 

Toby is falling into destructive patterns of aggressive behaviour. When he meets Joe, he starts to understand how these behaviours have emerged, and develops strategies for conflict resolution, anger management, assertiveness, and breaking the cycle of violence.

School yard scenarios are used to encourage students to have empathy and understanding: invading people’s personal space, homophobic and racist remarks, violence and intimidation, in person or online, are all illegal and can have serious consequences.

This award-winning show shines a spotlight on negative patterns of behaviour that can develop through inappropriate modelling from peers, family members, the internet, TV and video games. It examines the link between hormones, the fight/flight response, aggression and violence.

The hard hitting narrative is punctuated with circus skills to demonstrate co-operation and strategies for improving self-control through breath, focus and channelling energy into positive pursuits.    

Key Themes:

  • Aggression
  • Anger management
  • Assertiveness
  • Breaking cycle of violence
  • Bullying
  • Compassion
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Consequences
  • Cooperation
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Domestic violence
  • Empathy
  • Exclusion
  • Homophobia
  • Legal consequences
  • Positive behaviours
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience
  • Respectful relationships
  • Safety
  • Self control

 

The Flipside

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When bullying and revenge are used to wield power, Jack and Ella realise they must create an ethical roadmap for the internet. When people post words or images, how will they be received? What will be the consequences?

The Flipside will change student's perspectives on what's humorous, toxic, private, humiliating, informative, safe or appropriate. The performance provides strategies for positive, ethical communication online.

Key Themes:

  • Communication
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Digital footprint
  • Ethical online behaviour
  • Empathy
  • Impulse control
  • Online gaming
  • Responsible use of technology
  • Social media

 

The Hurting Game

The Hurting Game

Samantha’s group spread rumours and alienate her. She becomes anxious,obsessed with body image and constantly compares herself with others..

Desperate to fit in, Jimmy succumbs to peer pressure and becomes the tough guy harassing and bullying other students with homophobic remarks, deliberately failing maths, binge drinking and playing the fool.

They slowly begin to realise that their interactions on social media can affect their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and could have lifelong implications.

Key Themes:

  • Alienation
  • Anxiety
  • Binge drinking
  • Body image
  • Bullying
  • Consequences
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber footprint
  • Cyber safety
  • Digital citizenship
  • Eating disorders
  • Friendship
  • Harassment
  • Homophobia
  • Peer pressure
  • Positive relationships
  • Resilience
  • Rumours
  • Self esteem
  • Social media
  • Social skills 

 

Cyberia

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Ruby loses her moral compass online. Anxious and struggling with impulse control, she is in danger of ruining her digital reputation. She is instantly banished to Cyberia.

Tim is in self-imposed exile. A lack of sleep and social interaction leads to mistakesscams and misunderstandings online. He becomes isolated and addicted to gaming.

Tim and Ruby must find their way back to retrieve their dignityprivacy and relationships.

In consultation with education and mental health experts, our creative team have woven together true stories of students' online experiences. It poses questions about how technology is affecting our brainsour humanity and our future.

Key Themes:

  • Exclusion
  • Excessive gaming
  • Consequences
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber safety
  • Depression
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Digital reputation
  • Exclusion
  • Gaming addiction
  • Impulse control
  • Internet security
  • Isolation
  • Mental health
  • Online reputation
  • Positive relationships
  • Resilience
  • Responsible use of technology
  • Rumours
  • Self esteem
  • Sexting
  • Social media
  • Stress

 

Cheap Thrills

This fast paced one man show is about that split second when we reach a crossroad, make a choice, and possibly change our lives forever.

Andy and his friends drink alcoholsmoke cannabis and are confused by the hormones racing around their bodies. This dangerous cocktail explodes into one dramatic incident resulting in the loss of their mate Jamie.

Video of his sister Phoebe smoking and getting drunk ends up on YouTube. His dad drowns his sorrows in alcohol, mum pops painkillers to handle stress and his girlfriend has access to ecstasy.

After a lively discussion the audience leaves the venue with a deep understanding of how their choice of friends and their ability to make good decisions has a dramatic and lasting effect on their lives.

Key Themes:

  • Risk taking
  • Substance abuse
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Safe partying
  • Drugs
  • Choices
  • Consequences
  • Mental health
  • Grief & loss
  • Student wellbeing
  • Responsibility
  • Resilience

 

Wired

Wired 1

Two adolescents with extremes of behaviour, metabolism, hormones, goals and perspectives are spiralling out of control in different directions - one into STRESS and OVERLOAD, the other into DEPRESSION.

When their lives collide, they are forced to change course. The audience can see the characters play out an alternative path towards greater resilience and mental wellbeing.

With a sophisticated script and contemporary music, Wired instantly engages even the most cynical audience to enhance mental health awareness in schools.

Key Themes:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Goal setting
  • Concentration
  • Mental health
  • Exam pressure
  • Resilience
  • Student wellbeing

Topic 5: What Teachers Have to Say About Using Drama to Help with Student Wellbeing

Testimonials

Here is a sample of the positive responses received from teachers about how Brainstorm Productions assists student mental health and wellbeing:

“In one word: Fabulous!!! Highlights the possible steps students can take to achieve good mental health. Fantastic young, role models! 10/10” – Pittwater High School

“Strong messages about mental health and positive relationships! Relevant! Supports student welfare, social choices, life balance. 10/10” – Swansea High School

“Captivating! Fantastic! Drama is a powerful tool for addressing issues: dangers of making poor decisions online and the consequences for real life – thought provoking! 10/10” - Trinity Catholic College

“Highly recommended! Supports our mental health unit. Performance is linked with self-esteem and cyber smart material. Thanks for a timely and rich performance. These kids now have tools to save lives. 10/10!” - Emmanuel Lutheran School Gawler

“Good messages and info about mental health, cyber bullying, digital reputation and respect. Students highly engaged and responsive. Looking forward to the next performance! 10/10” - Port Macquarie High School

“Highly recommended! Students were drawn into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. Found it confronting but informative. Supports our mental health curriculum. Thank you!” - Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta

“Appropriately and realistically highlights the adolescent issues and a range of options available to help young people cope. Helped to normalise mental illness, final year pressures, coping mechanisms, welfare and mental health issues. Amazing performers who were punctual, enthusiastic and fantastic as always. 10/10.” - Cranbourne Secondary College

To read more, click here.

Tview our full range of primary and high school student wellbeing programs click here:

 

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Crisis Helplines

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed: Lifeline 13 11 14Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know requires immediate assistance, please call Emergency Services (000) or Lifeline (13 11 14). Other supports can be found at www.ruok.org.au/findhelp.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Under no circumstances will Brainstorm Productions or its employees be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information obtained from this site. It is your responsibility to evaluate any content provided and seek professional advice as appropriate. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.

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Freecall: 1800 676 224

Address: PO Box 804, Alstonville NSW 2477
Fax:  02 6628 5009
ABN: 17 088 834 637
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