Parliamentary Secretary for the Deputy Premier and Southern NSW Bronnie Taylor today announced a state-first school health pilot program designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of primary and high school students in Young, NSW.
Ms Taylor said the NSW Government will employ a dedicated Wellbeing and Health In-reach Nurse to coordinate physical and mental health care support for students as part of a two-year trial program.
“Mental health and wellbeing is vital for our students to be able to reach their full potential and succeed throughout their education,” Ms Taylor said.
“We know that health and social issues can make it difficult for children and young people to attend school and engage with the curriculum.
“It is crucial that we continue to invest in the mental health and wellbeing of regional students and ensure we protect the most vulnerable students in our classrooms,” she said.
A Wellbeing Hub and the nurse coordinator role will be trialled at Young High School in southern NSW next year in an innovative program designed to give the community’s school students improved access to health services.
NSW Health will work with the NSW Department of Education to trial the program at Young High School which will also service students from Young Public School and Young North Public School.
The Wellbeing and Health In-reach Nurse Coordinator will spend most of their time at a Wellbeing Hub based at the high school, with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District also using the Hub to provide some of their existing services.
Services that will be available through the Wellbeing Hub include counselling services, child and adolescent mental health services, drug and alcohol services, sexual health services and allied health services, including dietetics and speech therapy.
NSW Nationals candidate for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the Wellbeing and Health In-reach Nurse Coordinator will also assist children and families navigate health and social services in the area.
“Families are busy, and travelling to appointments to see health workers can mean time off school for students and time away from work for parents,” Ms Cooke said.
“This plan will see essential health services as well as preventive and early intervention services made more accessible on school grounds.
“People are familiar with nurses and trust them, so it follows that children, young people and their families will feel comfortable approaching the nurse coordinator at their local high school with their concerns,” she said.
The two-year trial will start at Young High School at the beginning of the 2018 school year. A further two NSW school sites where nurse coordinators will be trialled are yet to be identified.