The Role of Schools in Supporting Students with Mental Health

The 2018 International Mental Health Conference is almost upon us again, this year the conference will be held over the 8th – 10th August at the RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

This annual conference is now in its 19th year and continues to be the pinnacle event in the mental health industry. The Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to build relationships and to share knowledge, research and latest policies.

Mr Troy Barath, Principal at the Department Education & Training Queensland joins us at the conference to discuss ‘The Role of Schools in Supporting Students with Mental Health’.

Troy Barath

Abstract

Through my experience of working with students with disabilities, mental health issues and challenging behaviours I have developed an approach that focusses on the relationship between the parent and the school to drive change in the behaviour and attitude of the student. This approach strengthens the authenticity and communication between home and school that helps to give consistent messages to the student, work on common goals and provide support in both environments. Rather than being authoritarian, the school becomes an active partner in the process of behavioural change, with equal measures of advising, listening, supporting and learning with and from the home.

The approach encompasses four aspects:
School Culture
Parent Engagement
School Support Options
Behaviour Management and Modification

I intend to speak about each of these areas and the strategies and framework that falls beneath each of them, however the heaviest focus will be on the first two areas. The aim is to give Mental Health Professionals an insight into the workings of a school that successfully manages and modifies the behaviour of challenging students, some of whom have mental health issues. This will hopefully give them some knowledge of what is possible within a school and may give them suggestions that they can make to other schools who may not have as much experience in the area.

Biography

I have worked in education for 20 years in Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary settings with the majority of my time as Head of Special Education Services. I have been a Principal for four years and thoroughly enjoy the challenges of the position in a rural, low socio-economic school with 30% indigenous students, 10% students verified with a disability and a 100% fantastic community and parents. I have a passion for behaviour modification, engagement and motivation of students to achieve potential. I also am interested in managing stressful environments and creating supportive communities.

For further information on the 19th International Mental Health Conference and to secure your spot please visit anzmh.asn.au/conference